Capability Approach: Potential for Transformative Education Research on Gender and Culture in Zimbabwe

  • Charles Chikunda Rhodes University


Much work has been completed with regards to gender and education. Some strides too, have been made in achieving gender equality in education: the greatest being in physical access to school for boys and girls. However, numerous challenges have been met in this process of attempting to achieve gender equality in education. Researchers have come to some consensus that there exist cultural traits and practices that either constrain or enable achieving gender equality in education (Stromquist, 990; Gordon, 1994; Prasad, 2004; Kalu, 2005; Chikunda, 2010; Chetcuti and Kioko 2012). The purpose of this paper is to argue for the use of Amartya Sen’s capability approach as a theoretical tool to enrich the gender-education discourse with specific focus on culture in Zimbabwe. Emphasis is given to cultural attributes and practices that are deemed retrogressive to achieving gender equality and equity in the country.  It is hoped that this paper will contribute to a discussion on overcoming cultural barriers that prevent certain individuals from converting resources to desired educational functionings.