Political and Ideological Institutional Effects on Gender and Environment

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Susan MadodoTutor: Heleen

Introduction
The purpose of this paper is to give an account of institutions within the political and ideological structures of the dynamic model. Furthermore I shall explain how these institutions interact with different classes in my situation. In my analysis I shall especially give attention to the institutions’ effect on gender and the environment (the ecosystem) as key elements of the economic base. “The paradox of development arises from mistaken identification of the growth of commodity production as a better satisfaction of basic needs. In actual fact there is less water, less fertile soil, less genetic wealth as a result of the development process. Since these natural resources are the basis of nature’s economy, and women’s survival economy, their scarcity is impoverishing women and marginalized people in an unprecedented manner. Their new impoverishment lies in the fact that resources which supported their survival were absorbed into the market economy while they themselves were excluded and displaced by it” Shiva (1988 p.11). To echo on the same line of thought with Vandana Shiva, I find it important to mention that the analysis in this paper will take the view point of the base and the superstructure in which the superstructure cannot be formed without the base and how the various institutions and organs in the superstructure depend upon, take advantage of and then exploit the base and forget about it when the superstructure is well structured and “looking good”. In this paper I will give an account of the functions of councils and courts (law) as political structures, and the media and cultural groups as ideological structures, their relationships with different classes and their effect on the environment and gender. Councils

The councils I am going to discuss in this section of the paper are the Urban Councils and specifically the Harare City Council. The functions of the councils range from the provision of social services such as health and education refuse collection, protection of natural resources within their boundaries, to the construction and maintenance of various infrastructures such as sewage works, roads and dams. Considering the current economic status of Zimbabwe, these have not been spared by the financial challenges facing the country and they are facing several challenges with delivery of service to rate payers. The urban council’s efforts to provide services adequately are mostly hampered by lack of funding and late payment of rates by residents. This however is not entirely the reason why councils have failed the people particularly women and the environment.

David O ‘Kelly had experienced what we are experiencing in Harare when he gave his review of David Kotern’s The Post-Corporate World- Life After Capitalism the title “Making Money Yet Growing Poor”. He goes on to talk about the relentless pursuit of economic growth at the expense of people and the environment O’Kelly (1998). I agree with him for this is a usual phenomenon in Harare where houses, multimillion dollar hotels and shopping malls are being constructed on wetlands and open spaces left for preserving nature. Construction of houses on wetlands depletes the water table and gives rise to pollution of underground water. The water table used to be around 15-18 meters below the earth’s surface but now it had gone down to about 30 meters in some areas http://www.mstd.gov.zw/ (2012). I feel that because of housing and commercial developments on wetlands, boreholes in some parts of Harare including the one at my organization have dried up. Currently a five star hotel is being constructed by a Chinese consortium in Harare on what was once an unspoiled natural wetland area, despite major objections by local residents, environmentalists and other interested parties. According to http://www.environmentafrica.org/(2012) the environmental watchdog in Zimbabwe, Environmental Management Agency...
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