This article examines diversity in the women’s movement in Zimbabwe, focusing on the Women’s Coalition, which was set up in 1999. It traces the development of the women’s movement in relation to political developments in Zimbabwe, and highlights how the depoliticised language of development can obscure inequality between women, as well as between women and men, ethnic groups, and rural and urban people. The Women’s Coalition emerged from an awareness that coalition building is necessary if civil society is to be a strong political force. But diversity of values and core beliefs must be acknowledged if coalitions are to operate effectively, and we must understand coalitions as political institutions which face internal and external challenges. How well a coalition navigates this political terrain influences its survival.
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