Lahra Smith

Lahra Smith

University of New Hampshire

Anthropology & Political Science


1995

Mentor: S.P. Reyna, Ph.D. - Professor of Anthropology

Gender and Development: The Impact of Structural Adjustment on Women in Zimbabwe

This inquiry analyzes the impact of structural adjustment on women in Zimbabwe. A central finding is that economic policy models, such as structural adjustment, are biased against women. It reviews research, past and present, on women in development, emphasizing their participation in the economy. As a result of this review, five hypotheses were formulated. Their plausibility will be evaluated through observations of women and structural adjustment in Zimbabwe.

Structural adjustment is a package of economic reform increasingly imposed on developing countries by international lending agencies, particularly the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. By failing to challenge male-biased institutions and preconditions which prevent women from fully benefiting from development, structural adjustment is argued to be incapable of improving the status of women in Zimbabwe. It is therefore concluded that structural adjustment itself is flawed and cannot result in sustained economic development.

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