Transformation of lives: How does empowerment of Black housewives correlate with economic productivity? 1994- 2011; Eastern Cape in South Africa.
Transformation of lives: How does empowerment of Black housewives correlate with economic productivity? 1994- 2011; Eastern Cape in South Africa
By Ntombizifikile Mkoyana for WomenBeing Magazine
This script aims to highlight how transformation and empowerment of Black housewives lead to economic productivity. Women empowerment refers to offering training, sharing of skills and knowledge to enable women to be marketable and or financially able. This writing will also talk about human rights violation and examine if the end product contributes to the paralysis women’s abilities. Housewives are perceived as different from women who go to work and earn a salary. This writing talks about the authority that empowerment offers to women’s en route to a marketable sphere where many obstacles like gender inequality and different pay scale do still exist. Housewife is a female who is unemployed and stays at home to look after the family and the home, her main roles are to clean the house, cook, look after the children and home maintenance.
The transformation and empowerment of Eastern Cape housewives towards building economy efficiency have measured an increase in the past few years. Before 1994, housewives were the casualties of socio-economic and political agenda driven from racial segregation. Women had limited resources if any were within their disposal at all. Restricted social engagement and the absence of empowerment painted a different image about these women’s abilities. The conflicting views discredited housewives who were then assumed to be parasitic individuals with zero contribution towards economic growth. These women were always subjected to scrutiny that made them being perceived negatively, stigmatised, aligned and identified as direct contributors to poverty. These judgements were recorded despite the time spent by these women nourishing their children with love, rendering full parental care and maintaining family stability. Even today the housewives’ credentials and abilities towards economic growth are easily declared dubious.
This study focuses on two categories of women: some working at Magwa Tea (Lusikisiki) and those in Ntabankulu who were offered scholarships by Hayi Le Mbila (Funded by Canon Collins Trust UK). The sampling was done by the researcher as she engaged directly with the scholarship programme and involved in talking with women employed at Magwa Tea. In total 100 women aged 22- 56 were interviewed. Women were asked similar questions, based on disruption to jobs and workforce.
Disruption to jobs
The 2011 disagreement between the management and the Magwa Tea employees led to uncertainty and or job insecurity. Many of the women interviewed gave similar responses. N (a 50-year-old, the names are omitted) one of the employees said, “it was a terrible situation, I was worried because I had my financial budget and commitments (school uniform, feed my children, pay my bills and continue paying the builders) when the problems started.” The ability of this lady demonstrates how empowerment led to employment, and later economic independency as she was paying the builders for home improvement. The job security was the key factor.
Similar answers were obtained. The only difference was on taking on extra shifts when there was a shortage of workers. B (a 26-year-old) mentioned that the presence of the majority of women gave made her feel safer, as their united voice boosted their confidence in knowing that “women are capable too”. She spoke about how she took more shifts when there was a shortage so that she could earn more. She mentioned that extra cash gave her financial freedom to save.
Rural women provide, work hard and once empowered they know their fundamental rights. If given a chance they maintain food security (buy food, grow their vegetables and take paid work).
Independent researcher under the Global Support Services Consultancy (South Africa and U.K.) and mentor of the CEO/ founder of Dali’s HEN (H – health, E- education & N -nutrition).
Comments are closed