Is a women's place still in the home?: gender-role attitudes and women's position in the South African labour market

SOURCE: South African Social Attitudes: 2nd report: reflections on the age of hope
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2019
TITLE AUTHOR(S): F.Timol, I.Lynch, T.Morison
SOURCE EDITOR(S): Z.Mokomane, J.Struwig, B.Roberts, S.Gordon
KEYWORDS: FAMILY WELL-BEING, GENDER, LABOUR MARKET, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEY (SASAS), WOMEN
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11009

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Abstract

At the dawn of South Africas democracy, access to resources, employment opportunities and well-paid jobs were starkly divided along racial and traditional gender lines. Women in general, and black women in particular, were largely relegated to the domestic sphere and to lower-income employment, most often involving service or care work (Ntuli & Wittenberg 2013; Orr & Van Meelis 2014). Reversing this status quo by integrating women into the labour market became an important goal of South Africas transformation agenda (Ntuli & Wittenberg 2013). The last few decades have seen a definite growth in womens employment, yet on the whole, men, and white men in particular, are still in a better position than their female counterparts (Orr & Van Meelis 2014). Men as a group experience lower rates of unemployment, higher-paid employment, more opportunities for career advancement and lower participation in unprotected forms of employment like domestic work, subsistence farming and small-scale informal activities (Casale & Posel 2002). The increase in female employment has been accompanied by a simultaneous decline in the quality of jobs available to women (Orr & Van Meelis 2014), which we outline in more detail in this chapter.