More work for women: a rights-based analysis of women's access to basic services in South Africa

SOURCE: South African Journal on Human Rights
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2009
TITLE AUTHOR(S): J.Dugard, N.Mohlakoana
KEYWORDS: ACCESS TO ECONOMIC RESOURCES, GENDER EQUALITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, POVERTY, SOCIO- ECONOMIC STATUS, WOMEN, WOMEN IN BUSINESS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6504

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.

Abstract

South Africa has a commendable legislative and policy framework for basic services that explicitly recognises historic disadvantage, including gender. Yet, as explored in this article, inadequate access to water and electricity services has a disproportionately negative effect on women. This is because there is a sexual division of labour within most households meaning that, in addition to typically being singly responsible for childcare, washing, cooking and cleaning, women must usually also take on the role of managing water and energy supplies. In this role, women experience multiple obstacles in accessing these goods, related to the availability, affordability and amount of water and electricity supplied. Analysing such obstacles, this article concludes that, as public services that enter the private realm of the household, water and electricity services are perhaps uniquely resistant to gender-specific legislative and policy recommendations. It suggests that the best way to improve women's access to basic services is through a socio-economic class analysis, advancing greater access by poor households.