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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Happiness Studies
Title ‘Only a Housewife?’ Subjective Well-Being and Homemaking in South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2020
URL https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-020-00232-w
Over the past 50 years, a sizeable literature has developed that investigates the subjective well-being implications for women of being full-time homemakers. However, this research is limited in focus, to women in developed countries who are typically married or in cohabiting unions and where the alternative to specializing in household production is employment. In this study, we contribute to the literature by exploring the relationship between full-time homemaking and subjective well-being in South Africa, a developing country where family formation often does not involve a conjugal unit, and where unemployment or economic inactivity are as likely alternatives to full-time homemaking as employment. Our analysis of national longitudinal data shows that specializing in household production is clearly less satisfying for women than being employed, and particularly among unmarried women. However, being without any activity is the least satisfying of all. Further analysis reveals that the benefits of employment derive specifically from regular employment (as opposed to casual employment), and that controlling for socio-economic status eliminates the relative dissatisfaction of homemakers at the cross-section, but not that of unemployed or inactive women.

Related studies

Posel, Dorrit, and Janet Bruce-Brand. "‘Only a Housewife?’ Subjective Well-Being and Homemaking in South Africa." Journal of Happiness Studies (2020).
Copyright DataFirst, University of Cape Town