Is marriage a haven or a risk for women in Zimbabwe in the era of HIV/AIDS: Interrogating women`s reproductive rights in marriage
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The study sought to establish to what extent civil and registered customary marriages in Zimbabwe served as havens or risks against HIV and AIDS. It interrogates the susceptibility of married women to socio-cultural practices and factors that violate their sexual and reproductive rights leaving them with no sexual autonomy. A sample of 160 respondents (males and females) aged between 20 and 60 were drawn to participate in this study from Dzivarasekwa and Harare Central Business District. The individual interviews and focus groups were carried out to measure the levels and extent of the problem of predisposition of HIV/AIDS infection to married women. Key informants interviews were conducted to assess the nature of the problem confronting married women and to try to find solutions to remedy such violations. This study uses a combination of mainly qualitative and a few quantitative methods of data collection. Using a number of gender-focused methodologies, and Women’s Law Approach, the writer collected and scrutinized an extensive range of data which disclosed that while marriage to some extent was an important factor in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS it was also a risk factor. It revealed that power dynamics, gender roles and cultural practices have taken away the married women`s capacity to realise and utilise their sexual and reproductive rights. It was established that whereas married women did not have sexual autonomy their unmarried counterparts were in a better place to negotiate safe sex which made them comparatively safer in terms of exposure to HIV/AIDS. Therefore whereas a married woman might not sometimes be able to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS from the matrimonial bed a diligent unmarried woman can avoid the same by safeguarding the exercise of her sexual and reproductive rights. The study recommends that since it is the implementation of the law that is problematic then the solution should be advocating for the reproductive and sexual rights of married women so as to empower them with the capacity to bargain for safe sex which they are currently lacking and in so doing enabling them to make decisions that reduces their expose to the risk of HIV/AIDS infection.
Additional Citation InformationMusandirire, B. (2016). Is marriage a haven or a risk for women in Zimbabwe in the era of HIV/AIDS: Interrogating women`s reproductive rights in marriage. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
SponsorNorwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
SubjectHIV & AIDS
reproductive & sexual rights