The nexus between university gender policy and gender-based violence: A social relations approach to gender policy analysis at institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe


  • Nyevero Maruzani Midlands State University, Zimbabwe


gender analysis, gender based violence, gender policy, gender social relations, social relations approach, instititutions of higher learning


Gender-Based Violence(GBV) is a phenomenon that affects society negatively and its impact is heavier on women than men in all developmental settings. While much has been said about this phenomenon at international, regional, and national conventions, agreements, and protocols, statistics show that instead of decreasing the incidence is even rising. Possible policy interventions have been tabled for implementation but minimal achievement has been recorded if comparison is made to the size of the problem. This study uses a gender analysis approach to establish why the implemented gender policies have been less effective in reducing the occurrence of GBV at institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe. The gender analysis tool employed is Naila Kabeer’s (1994) Social relations approach. Only two concepts (i. Social Relations and ii. Institutional Analysis) from Naila Kabeer’s Social Relations Approach were operationalised. The study established that GBV prevails as an outcome of gaps linked to organisational social relations. These relations play a key role in the incidence of gender-based violence and the perpetuation of gender inequality in these institutions. The study is of the view that robust gender policy analysis at institutions of higher learning is an urgent imperative so that deep-seated social relations that incubate motivations for GBV are exposed and properly addressed. Gender-based violence is cancer that is feeding on unattended gender social relations resulting in the increase of this vice. The study recommends the need for more frequent gender policy analysis if policy objectives regarding gender equality are to be achieved. The use of the social relations approach as a tool for such an analysis is highly recommended.


Blommaert, J. and Burken, C. 2000. Critical discourse analysis. Annual Review of anthropology, 29: 447-466.

Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge.

Brennen, B. H. 2003. Gender issues in tertiary education. Paper presented at the Association of Tertiary Education Annual Conference, Nassau, Bahamas. November 20.

Butler, J. 2011. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. London: Taylor and Francis.

Chauraya, E. 2011. The implementation of gender policy programmes in selected universities in Zimbabwe. (Doctoral thesis), University of South Africa.

Chauraya, E. and Manyike, T. V. 2014. Gender mainstreaming in student admissions in Zimbabwean state universities: the gap between implementation and ideal practice. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(8): 406-414.

CheerStunts 2010. Cheerleading chants, cheers, and yells.

Christ, C. P. 2016. A new definition of patriarchy: control of women’s sexuality, private property, and war. Feminist Theology, 24(3): 1-18.

Connell, R. 2009. Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Cornwall, H., Harrison, E. and Whitehead, A. 2007. Feminism in Development. London: Zed Book Ltd.

Donnelly, P. and Young, K. (1988) The construction and confirmation of identity in sports subcultures. Sociology of Sport Journal, 5(3): 223–240.

Jorgensen, M. and Phillips, L. J. 2002. Discourse analysis as theory and method. London: Sage.

Kellie, D. J., Blake, K. R. and Brooks, R. C. 2019. What drives female objectification? An investigation of appearance-based interpersonal perceptions and the objectification of women. PLoS ONE, 14(8): e0221388.

Klein, G. and Gibbs, A. 2020. Tools of patriarchy: the weaponization of sexual freedom. Health History.

Knijnik, J. 2018. Imagining a multicultural community in an everyday football carnival: Chants, identity and social resistance on Western Sydney terraces. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 53(4) 471–489.

Langton, R. 2009. Sexual solipsism: Philosophical essays on pornography and objectification. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Luhrs, J. 2007. Football Chants and the Continuity of the Blason Populaire Tradition. (Doctoral thesis), Sheffield University. Sheffield.

Musoni, P. and Gundani, P. H. 2019. Open space worship: A religious identity of the Johane Masowe Chishanu Church in Zimbabwe. Journal for the Study of Religion, 32(2): 1-13.

Nussbaum, M. 1995. Objectification. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 24(4): 249–291.

Nilan, P., Broom, A. and Demartoto, A. 2008. Masculinities and violence in India and Indonesia: identifying themes and constructs for research. Journal of Health and Development, 4(1): 209–228.

Nziramasanga Commission. 1999. Report of the presidential commission of inquiry into education and training in Zimbabwe. Government Printers: Harare.

Prabasmoro, T. and Ridwansyah R. 2020. Fan culture and masculinity: Identity construction of Persib supporters. Gender Studies, 18(1): 163 – 178.

Ridgeway, C. L. and Smith-Lovin, L. 2006. Gender and interaction. In Chafetz, J. S. (Ed.) Handbook of the Sociology of Gender (pp. 247-274). New York: Springer

Siregar, C. 2020. Football love letters: the incredible science behind iconic stadium songs.

Szymanski, D. M., Moffitt, L. B. and Carr, E. R. 2011. Sexual objectification of women: advances to theory and research. The Counselling Psychologist, 39(1) 6–38.

Van Dijk, T.A. 1993. Principles of critical discourse analysis. Discourse and Society, 4(2): 249-283.

Walby, S. 1990. Theorising patriarchy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

West, C. and Zimmerman, D. H. 2002. Doing gender. In Jackson, S. and Scott, S. (Eds.) Gender: A Sociological Reader (pp. 42 – 48). London: Routledge.

Wodak, R. 1995. Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis. In Verschueren, J., Ostaman, J. and Bloomaert, T. (Eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics (pp 204-210). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Wodak, R. 2001. What CDA is about – A summary of its history, important concepts, and its development. In Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis (pp 1-14). London: Sage.

Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (Eds). (2009). Critical discourse analysis: History, agenda, theory, and methodology. London: Sage.






Research Articles