How do class, place and affection for democracy affect women’s participation in politics?
It is a conventional position that the middle-classes are the staunchest defenders of democracy, but recent research in Zimbabwe suggests that this is not the case in Zimbabwe. In this study, the educated, employed and urban, who may be crudely described as “middle-class”, were shown to be mostly uninvolved in the socio-political life of the country, and were described as “disconnected democrats” (RAU. 2015). Did this apply equally to men and women, especially as women are frequently argued to exercise less agency than men?
This notion was tested in a study using the most recent Afrobarometer data on Zimbabwe from Round 6 (2014). In this study two basic propositions were tested:
- Middle-class women will be more likely to support democracy and opposition political parties;
- Middle-class women will be more likely to show higher frequencies of social capital, political participation, and political efficacy.