Where are the men?: an investigation into female-headed households in Rini, with reference to household structures, the dynamics of gender and strategies against poverty

Brown, Brenda (1996) Where are the men?: an investigation into female-headed households in Rini, with reference to household structures, the dynamics of gender and strategies against poverty. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

An in-depth study is conducted into ten female-headed households in the township of Rini, an underprivileged section of Grahamstown in the Eastem Cape region of South Africa. The study provides information on the way in which such households function in conditions of poverty and underemployment. The meaning of the term 'household' is clearly defined. A household consists of a group of people, who may or may not be kin-related, but who usually live under the same roof, eat together and share resources. Household members may be absent for varying periods of time, but are still considered to have rights in the household to which they belong. The female-headed household usually contains a core of adult women who are often uterine kin. Men are frequently members of these households and are usually related to the women who form the core. Their status and roles in such households are defined and intra-household relations between household members are discussed. In this study, female headship is observed to occur in conditions of poverty when an elderly woman is widowed, receives a regular income in the form of and old age pension, and when her status as the senior member of the household is acknowledged. The presence of men in female-headed households has not been widely emphasised in other studies, either of the female-headed household itself, or in research done in this area of South Africa. An attempt is therefore made to illustrate the way in which men function in these households and the varying roles they play. An attempt is also made to describe other structures and practices which support the female-headed household in a rapidly changing urban environment. These include church membership, burial society membership, the informal economy, wider kinship networks and, in the case of the men, the rite of circumcision.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Female-headed households, Rini, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Poverty, Underemployment, Uterine kin, Men, Women, Status, Function, Widows
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Anthropology
Supervisors:Buijs, Gina
ID Code:3244
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:30 Aug 2012 12:11
Last Modified:30 Aug 2012 12:11
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