<em>A South African rural community: a before-and-after story  </em><em>of women’s empowerment at work</em> — ASN Events

A South African rural community: a before-and-after story  of women’s empowerment at work (16102)

Joan Fairhurst 1 , Johanna Mashaba , Melanie Nicolau
  1. Department of Geography, University of South Africa (Unisa), Florida Campus, South Africa

A group of womenfolk in a typical South Africa rural community responded to challenges in their everyday lives. Although acknowledging their home and family responsibilities, they too came to realise that they themselves do have the ability to improve their quality of life in a sustainable way. In tandem with socio-political change in a society that still experiences inequality and poverty, their determination to overcome has enabled them to successfully benefit socially, economically and personally from engaging in projects of their choice. Empirical research undertaken by a perceptive local leader has exposed their stories. As the process unfolded, using their human, social, economic and cognitive assets as problem-solving tools, with engagement in power mapping, they have experienced a sense of achievement as empowered people. In turn, the process reflects the spatial diffusion of ideas and actions emanating from the local governing authority as motivated by national and international thinking and initiatives. Recognised interpretations of women’s empowerment are unmasked as policy and practice have come together in a specific geographical setting.

Keywords:        women’s empowerment, everyday life, rural community, policy and practice