Do middle-class women defend democracy?
It is a frequent assertion that the staunchest defenders of democracy come from the middle classes, underlining the advantages of education and formal employment. However, recent work in Zimbabwe suggested that this might be the case for the country. Examining active citizenship amongst Zimbabweans, RAU‟s analysis indicated a group of citizens that could be described as “disconnected democrats”, urban, educated and employed, but largely non-participant in the socio-political life of the country. Gender was not a factor, as also suggested by other work in Africa that showed women being little different to men in their political attitudes.
However, class and gender were not an explicit aspect of this research and hence it was decided to look at women, class and active citizenship. Two hypotheses were advanced in order to test these relationships:
Middle-class women will be more likely to support democracy and opposition political parties;
Middle-class women will be more likely to show greater agency seen as higher frequencies of social capital, political participation, and political efficacy.