Gender and rurality in southern African contexts: an introduction

SOURCE: Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2010
TITLE AUTHOR(S): R.Moletsane, S.Ntombela
KEYWORDS: GENDER, GENDER EQUALITY, POVERTY, RURAL COMMUNITIES, SOUTHERN AFRICA, WOMEN
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6639

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Abstract

There is arguably a strong link between poverty and the lived experiences of women and girls, particularly those in rural areas. This is exacerbated by gender inequalities and the social status of women in these communities, which prescribe how individuals and groups negotiate their daily interactions. As the contributions in this issue of Agenda illustrate, boys and girls growing up and men and women living in these rural settings are socialised to fulfil different social roles and to live in accordance with gendered expectations, norms and values. It is within rural households that the cultural constructions of gender take place, entrenching the subordinate position of women and girls in these contexts, thereby intensifying their lived experiences. Although they fulfil critical socio-economic roles, women remain poorer, invisible, and voiceless, and are excluded from decision-making processes. This introductory piece presents an overview of rurality and gender in southern Africa and outlines the various contributions in this issue of Agenda.