Under Pressure: Women’s responsibilities in financing household social reproduction in multigenerational households

Despite the expansion of the welfare state in South Africa many poor individuals receive no public support and remain dependent on family for support. This paper examines how low-middle income employed black South African women in multi-generational households are key providers and face numerous demands for economic and practical support from a wide range of dependents. The findings uncover multiple pressures on the providers including the precarity of work, level of care required, the problems with debt, demands of a larger dependent family and the limitations of the welfare state. The author argues that the financial care of dependents by families, and within families by women is deepening existing inequalities of gender, race and class. Whilst women’s role in ‘taking care of’ families is not a new phenomenon, the author argues that the co-existence of such high levels of care and the changing socio-economic context (welfare system, low marriage rates, and higher levels of female employment) has created new conditions for caregiving responsibilities in multi-generational households. The paper fills a theoretical gap in the understanding of the hidden abode of reproduction and the full array of women’s responsibilities in financing household social reproduction in multigenerational households.  


Tue, 13 Aug 2019 -
12:50 to 14:00

Centre for Social Science Research Seminar Room, 4.29 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus.

Contact Information: 

Nondumiso Hlwele