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Title: Poverty, household hunger and women’s empowerment in impoverished settlements in Johannesburg
Author: Conco, Daphney Patience Nozizwe
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
Hunger and increasing poverty are major problems facing not only rural but also urban areas in South Africa, including its largest city, Johannesburg. Women‘s empowerment features significantly in the international development goals as key to poverty and hunger reduction. However, few studies analyse, as this study does, the links between women‘s empowerment and hunger from the perspective of women living in urban chronic poverty. This study entails a multidimensional analysis of poverty and an in-depth enquiry into women‘s experiences and perspectives of household hunger and poverty. A mixed methods study design was used. The quantitative study entailed the secondary analysis of a 2006 cross-sectional household survey (n=533) undertaken by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC). The quantitative findings steered a methodical process that ensured that the selected participants (n=9) for in-depth interviews represented the poorest households in the study sites. The qualitative results from the nine women were validated through three focus group discussions reaching 34 women from the same study sites. The prevalence of income poverty (64%) in impoverished settlements was higher than provincial and national rates. Household hunger (40%) was associated with multidimensional aspects of poverty. Households below the poverty line were at a higher risk of hunger (OR=4.04, CI: 2.60; 6.32). Multivariate regression showed not being fully employed as the main determinant of household hunger. On the other hand, female heads had lower chances of full employment, and their households were at higher risk of living below the poverty line (OR=1.52, CI: 1.03; 2.25). Yet women, more than men, invested resources in protecting their households from hunger. However, protecting their households did not signify empowerment. In the process of staving off hunger they constantly sacrificed social capital, indicating disempowerment. The current study is original for a number of reasons. First, it is the first to investigate household hunger, gender and women‘s empowerment in Johannesburg. Second, it combines large-scale quantitative data with in-depth qualitative data to give a holistic account of household hunger and poverty. The third reason is the discovery, made through grounded theory analysis, that women experience poverty as a personal phenomenon. This phenomenon contradicts widely used human development approaches, including women‘s empowerment. Lastly, this study concludes that women‘s empowerment is not likely in the context of chronic poverty as prevailing gender inequalities corrode social capital, resulting in their disempowerment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.570868  DOI: Not available
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