Black women the face of poverty in South Africa

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South African Institute of Race Relations Analyst, Gabriela Mackay says the fact that black women are still the face of poverty is because of, among other things, the slow economic growth.

Changing the plight of black women is one of the issues that are highlighted at the African National Congress Policy Document: Strategy and Tactics.

“South Africa has not seen the economic growth that it would have liked to see. If economic growth was better we would have seen a lessening of this problem.

“We also have a problem of our education system, having failed with not just women as a whole but all black people, but poorer people as a whole. And unfortunately our public education system is not quite what it needs to be yet to afford the people a chance to go to school, get an education, to get jobs; and if you compound that with the fact that investment has not been good, there are not many jobs afterwards. It does not help the fact we still have people living in poverty if you add to that we still have not.”

Mackay says when it comes to employment opportunities men are still preferred more than women.

“If you consider the overall employment situation where you have 27%, the working age population not being able to find a job, it tells you that we have an unemployment problem as a whole. On average women are not seen as great hires because the world at large is still patriarchal so you always think of a man as a great hire than a woman because men are less likely to take maternity leave, men do not get pregnant, men will stay in their jobs, so on average women are overlooked for jobs because employers think is there going to bear risk when this woman then decides to become pregnant, is she going to be in her post for a long time, if her child then gets sick she is expected to take family responsibility leave.”

“So that could add into why women are generally viewed as great hires even though we know that on average women tend to perform better emotionally and in terms of intelligence than some men do.”

She says that the education system has to be improved in order to better the lives of black women. All traces of patriarchy according to Mackay have to be gotten rid of.

“What I would hope we should strive towards in terms of inequalities, we need to get back at making sure that children have fair opportunities to get decent education that set them up to be able to go to a university where they can achieve, the other side is that you need to make sure that you are attracting investment growing jobs in the country so that those children have jobs to go into once they have graduated.”

– By Lerato Matlala