Peasants, Traders, & Wives

Shona Women in the History of Zimbabwe, 1870-1939

Elizabeth Schmidt



Dr. Schmidt argues that women were central to the formation of African peasantries in Rhodesia. Yet women's status declined over the course of the colonial period. As political mechanisms threatened the survival of peasant households, women's labor was intensified in the last ditch attempt to stave off the need for male labor migration.


Though she calls it "a tentative first step" in Zimbabwean historiography, Elizabeth Schmidt clearly establishes herself as major social historian of Africa with this important work. Thomas O'Toole, African Studies Review


Elizabeth Schmidt is Professor of History at Loyola College in Maryland.