Rediscoursing the Developmental Experiences of Rural Girl-Children in Zimbabwean Homes and Schools

February 23, 2019


This qualitative case enquiry attempted to present an analysis of the rural girl-child experiences as she makes efforts to balance between school and home roles. The study is tethered on a feminist notion. Though schools regard the girl-child as a learner, the home also makes frantic efforts to maximize available girl child labour before and after school. Girl-child labour has received great attention by organizations fighting for equality and equity among the human populace. Data were collected through two (2) Focus Group Discussions held in two neighbouring schools with a total of twelve (12) conveniently selected girl children in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. To augment girl-child data, four teachers (2 males and 2 females) were interviewed. The four (4) teachers were purposefully selected because each held an additional professional role as a school counselor. It was evident that inequalities still existed in the ways in which boys and girls were treated at home, school and the rest of the community. Tasks were noted to be varying as each one of the girl children unpacked her ordeal. The girl child responsibilities at home ranged from cleaning, fetching firewood and relish, cooking as well as manning the sick and the aged. The school also expected her to excel in school tasks, as well as other responsibilities such as polishing the classroom floors, cleaning surroundings and any other responsibilities as assigned by school staff and prefects. Therefore, the girl child sails through varying cultural and developmental experiences as she struggles to attain formal learning.


Feminism,, girl child,, gender disparities,, academic attainment,, rural


Baehr , AR.(Oct , 2013 ) . Liberal Feminism. Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University

Chabaya, O. Rembe, S & Wadesango, N. (2009) The persistence of Gender inequality in Zimbabwe: Factors that impede women into leadership positions in Primary Schools in Zimbabwe. South African Journal of Education Vol. 29: 235-251

Chirozva ,C. Mubaya C.P.& Mukamuri B. (online). The Traditional African Family in the Age of Globalisation, available at

Davidsen , AS. (2013) Phenomenology Approaches in Psychology & Health Sciences. available at

Dawn E. E. (2017 online). Consider the Children: Unintended Consequences of the Jamaican Primary Education Accountability System. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Donegan , M. (2018) .How # me Too Revealed The Central Rift Within Feminism Today. available at

Evans , A (2014). Women Can Do What Men Can Do: The Causes & Consequences of Growing Flexibility in Gender Divisions of Labour in Kitwe , Zambia. Journal of Southern African Studies Vol 40 (5).

Ganga, E. (2013) The effects of Double Orphanhood on the Learning and Cognition of Children in Child- Headed Households (D.Ed. Thesis) University of South Africa, available @‎

Goldscheider , F . Bernhardt , E and Lappergard , T. (2015) . The Gender Revolution : A Framework for understanding changing Family and Demographic Behaviour, Population and Development Review 41 (2) : 207-239

Groenewald, T. ( March 2004 ). Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated. International Journal of Qualitative Research available at

Henriques , G. (Jan 2017 ). Understanding Emotions and how to process them : The Adaptive and Maladaptive Processing of Emotions (available at:

Karakurt , G. & Silver , K ( 2013 ). Emotional Abuse in Intimate relationships : The Role of Gender & Age. Violence Vict 28 (5) : 804-821.

Leach , A ( March 2016 ).Twelve Steps to achieve Gender Equality in our lifetimes ; Women & girls working in development. available at

Lynch, M. (2016). Three Signs of Gender Discrimination in the Classroom You Need to Know available at

Manen , M. (Jan 2017 ) Phenomenology & Meaning Attribution. The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, available at

Mesatywa , N . (2009) . The perceptions and experiences of African Women in violent partner relationships. An exploratory study. A DPhil thesis ( Social Work , University of Stellenbosch ,2009 ).

Mikkola , M.(Oct 2017) .Feminist Perspectives on Sex & Gender. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University.

Miller , DEE (2017). Consider the children ; Unattended consequences of the Jamaican Primary Education Accountability system. Doctoral thesis , Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mutekwe ,E (2012). Girls’ Career choices as a product of gendered school curriculum: The Zimbabwean Example. South African Journal of Education Vol 32 : 279-292

Nyumba, TO. Wilson, K. Derrik, CJ & Mukherjee, N. (2018) The use of focus group discussion methodology: Insights from two decades of application in conservation, Methods in Ecology and Evolution , available at

Pankhurst ,A. Crivello , G. and Tiumelissan , A (2015). Work in children’s lives in Ethiopia : Examples from young lives communities. University of Oxford.

Pietkiewicz , J (2012). A Practical Guide to using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis in Qualitative research psychology. Psychological Journal 18 (2) , 361-369.

Rice , C (Nov 2011) . There are three reasons why women don’t make it to the top. Gender Equality, available at

Sharma, I. (2015). Violence against Women : where are the solutions? Indian Journal of Psychiatry. April-June Vol.57(2) 131-139

Sprinthall, N. A., Sprinthall, R. C. & Oja S. N. (2010) Educational Psychology: A Developmental Approach (6th Ed) New York: McGraw-Hill Inc

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2013) available at

The National Gender Policy. (2013-2017). The Republic Of Zimbabwe. Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community. Development, available at

The Sustainable Development Goals 2015 – 2030 online, available at

Tichagwa, K. (2012). An Evaluation of mushrooming of new Independent colleges in Zimbabwe with special emphasis on the Education of the Urban child 2000-2009. Zimbabwe Journal of Education Research . Vol. 24 (1)

Tsvere, M. (2010). Review of policies, plans, laws, rules, regulations and practices on how they address school based gender violence (SBGV) in Zimbabwe, FAWEZI available at

United Nations (October, 2011) With Equal Rights, Empowerment, Women Can Be ‘Agents of Change’ for Sustained Socio-economic Development, Security around World, Third Committee Told, available at

Author Details

Emily Ganga

Rose Mugweni

Kudzai Chinyoka