Gender Equality and Change

Understanding changes in gender relations

To create sustainable change for girls and women across the globe we need to better understand what drives it. In partnership with Plan International Zimbabwe and Dr Juliet Hunt (Principle Researcher) we conducted a major study to better understand what changes have occurred in gender relations and what factors have contributed to these changes from the perspective of young and adult men and women in communities in Zimbabwe.  

We asked women and men to reflect deeply and at a personal level about changes that happened to them, their family and their community over their lifetime, and about their aspirations for the future.

The study was conducted in six villages in the Chiredzi and Chipinge districts in Zimbabwe, with 260 participants, 100 men and 160 women.

The study found the factors that were most important in contributing to equal rights and treatment for women and girls were: 

  • Awareness raising on women’s and girls’ human and legal rights by many different agencies
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of women’s and girls’ human and legal rights by community members
  • Increased schooling for girls

Other factors that contributed to changes towards gender equality were:

  • Changes in law, and implementation of law
  • Modernisation: people moving in and out of villages, exposure to other ethnic groups, new technology, and copying and learning new ways from others
  • Impacts of the HIV and AIDS epidemic
  • Women’s paid work and income
  • Church teachings - but there was strong disagreement on this

The study showed the process of change in gender relations is complex however all these factors combined to create a powerful momentum for change.

The study also shows the different views men and women hold about the changes and the value these changes have brought to their lives.

To find out more read the full Gender Equality and Change study here.