The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy

Type Book Section - Part IV The labour market, distribution, and social policy: Chapter 34 Gender and work in South Africa
Title The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy
Edition 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2022
Page numbers 735-756
Publisher Oxford University Press
Country/State USA
This chapter provides an overview of women’s participation in the post-apartheid South African economy. We document rising labour force participation among women, as well as an increase in the share of total, and high-skilled, employment held by women. However, we also highlight some of the persistent challenges, among them, that women’s labour force participation, access to (high-skilled) employment, and earnings remain well below men’s using the most recent labour force data available. A key constraint to women’s success in the labour market is the additional responsibility they face in the home. We use data from various sources to show that women retain primary responsibility for the household and the provision of care in South Africa. Finally, we draw attention to how the Covid-19 crisis has not only exposed the value of this unpaid labour to society, but also the difficulty of performing this work alongside the demands of paid work.

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