Student Research

Migration and body politics: a study of migrant women workers in Belleville, Cape Town

Migration has become very prominent in South Africa, and unlike most countries on the continent, it is an extremely prominent destinations for migrants. The country attracts migrants because there is a common perception that there are better economic opportunities, jobs and living conditions within South Africa. Countries like Zimbabwe, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, […]

Gender Responsive Budgeting: A case of four Zambian Government Ministries 2003-2006

This study was an attempt to determine the extent of Gender Responsive Budgeting being undertaken in four government ministries namely; Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy and Water Development and Ministry of Health. The study further attempted to find out the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Government workers in the same ministries towards Gender Responsive Budgeting. A third objective was to determine the extent to which ministerial budgets build women capacities. Survey research design at descriptive level was used in this study. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative procedures. Quantitative data was generated from the questionnaire while qualitative information was generated from in-depth interviews. Document review of governments yellow books and financial reports were also scrutinized to ascertain the extent of Gender Budgeting. Findings of the study revealed that in the year 2003 before the introduction of Activity Based Budgeting (ABB), it was not very clear if gender was considered during the budgeting process.However, after the ABB was introduced in 2004 to date, it became clear that Gender issues were considered during the budgeting process. The challenge however, came to disbursements of budgeted amounts and implementation. The period between 2003 to 2005 very little funds were utilized in all the ministries. The situation improved in 2006 in that a substantial amount of funds were released. Findings on knowledge, attitudes and practices of Government workers revealed that there were high levels of knowledge about gender issues among the respondents. Similarly, their attitude was also positive towards gender responsive budgeting but the practice lagged behind.Results on in-depth analysis revealed that ministerial budgets do not build women’s capacities.Few women were trained on long term courses compared to men. Women were sent on short term courses that do not enable them meet their strategic gender needs.The principle recommendation suggested among others is that the Government of Zambia to pilot study participatory budgeting that would enable citizens to actively participates in the budget process. This will overcome some of the challenges that are currently being experienced in the budget process.

Between risk and resistance: gender socialization, equality and ambiguous norms in fear of crime and safekeeping

Gender socialisation is a key factor in explaining gender differences in managing fear of crime and risks in public space.

By emphasizing the continuing role of traditional norms that underline women’s vulnerability and prescribe safekeeping, previous studies have ignored the role of increasing gender equality, alternative norms that prescribe women’s independence and strength, and resistance to traditional norms.

Based on in-depth interviews with 28 couples, this article explores women’s
ambivalence and resistance towards traditional norms, how talk and practice reflect mixed messages on how to ‘properly’ do gender, and aligning as well as conflicting views and roles within couples.

Eating burnt toast : the lived experiences of female breadwinners in South Africa.

In modern South African society, many women have overcome traditional notions of gender by becoming breadwinners in their homes and providing primary financial support for their families. Employing a Phenomenological Feminist viewpoint, this dissertation contextualises the meaning that South African female breadwinners (FBW) ascribe to their experiences within their lived environment, utilising data collected from in-depth, unstructured interviews with FBW from the Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces. While taking into consideration their intersectional experiences of gender, race, as well as cultural and traditional societal pressures, this study represents these womens’ voices in order to understand how they make meaning of and negotiate their spaces and roles as breadwinners. In the course of interviews and analysis, the realities faced by FBW revealed experiences, individual and communal, shared and unique, which expose archaic divisions of gender within our society, which have been hiding behind constructions of reform advocating equality among the sexes.

The experience and challenges of women living with HIV in the Pietermaritzburg region, Kwazulu-Natal province: perspectives of social workers

A qualitative study was undertaken in Pietermaritzburg to unveil the experiences and challenges of WLWHIV as perceived by social workers as well as to explore and describe the experiences of social workers in rendering services to these women. Explorative, descriptive and contextual research designs were employed for the research process. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were utilised to recruit participants who met the set criteria. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirteen participants. Data obtained were transcribed and analysed applying Tesch’s eight steps (Creswell, 2009). Data verification was guided by Guba’s model (Krefting, 1991). The findings revealed the existence of strained relationships between WLWHIV and their partners and ineffective delivery of social work services to WLWHIV. Based on the findings, it is recommended that specialised training for social workers on issues related to death and dying and services for children of WLWHIV be incorporated in the guidelines for social work practice

Gender versus qualification in hiring knowledge workers : the predictive power of gender in the perceived job suitability of male and female applicants

This study considers the predictive power of gender in the perceived job suitability of male and female applicants seeking employment as knowledge workers. Four research questions were generated in order to address the problem statement of identifying if suitability for job fit in the knowledge economy is influenced more by gender or qualification: – Do managers differentiate between the perceived job suitability of male and female potential employees? – Do managers differentiate between the perceived job suitability of less-qualified male and more-qualified female potential employees? – Do managers differentiate between the perceived job suitability of equally morequalified male and female potential employees? – Do managers differentiate between the perceived job suitability of equally lessqualified male and female potential employees? In this simple study, respondents were asked to rank eight candidates’ suitability for a knowledge worker job. The results were collated, cleaned and validated before being subjected to a Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks test (for non-parametric variables). The results demonstrated that overall, gender is the better predictor of job suitability, however, the more qualified a candidate is, the less gender can be relied upon as an accurate predictor for job suitability. All the results from this study have been discussed in terms of their suggestions for future research in selection bias in hiring and gender bias.

A systematic review of the psychological factors associated with resilience among survivors of sexual abuse

This study aimed to synthesise the debates on factors associated with promoting resilience among women survivors of sexual abuse. Using systematic review methodology, six electronic databases (EBSCO, PsychINFO, SAGE, Science Direct, Springerlink and JSTOR) were used. Several keywords related to resilience and sexual abuse were utilised to search for articles published between January 2000 and December 2013 for inclusion. These primary studies were collocated, systematically assessed, synthesised and interpreted. Using two reviewers, data extraction was conducted in three stages, namely: the title reading, the abstract reading and the full text reading of articles. For the quality assessment, four instruments were employed, two of which were self-constructed tools. Thirty articles acquired an acceptable threshold score during the analysis and were used to compose this systematic review. Findings of this review highlighted that resilience is multidimensional; that is, it is made up of intrinsic and extrinsic resources/factors and is also a complex gradual dynamic process with specific indicators. These indicators include demonstration of competence and excellent functioning in important areas of life such as work, relationships, self-management, psychological well-being, and good health. Ten interacting factors were identified as promoting resilience including, 1) availability of social support from family and friends; 2) ego resources; 3) temperament/personality factors; 4) biographic characteristics; 5) ability to regulate emotions; 6) cultural factors; 7) positive life opportunities; 8) religion and spirituality; 9) abuse related factors; and 10) coping skills/strategies. These factors interact together, leading the survivor to be resilient. Major findings of the study as well as the implications for practice and further research are discussed.

An exploratory study of the emotional experiences of a parent of a transgendered child

This qualitative, exploratory study comprises a discourse analysis of the emotional experiences of the parent of a transgendered child. The primary aim of the study was to detail the emotional experiences encountered by the parents of a transgendered child within the South African context, with a focus on how discourse is used to make sense of experiences. The research employed a single case-study, and data was collected via three semi-structured interviews. The data was analysed within a social constructionist framework, using discourse analysis (as per ten stages suggested by Potter and Wetherell, 1987). The literature review highlights various issues regarding the plight of transgendered children and their loved ones in trans-phobic societies, most of which are reflected in the findings. The pertinent themes were divided into four sections: “Discourse of ShapingÀ, “Discourse of Incongruous LossÀ, “Discourse of MotherhoodÀ and “The Transformer and TransformationÀ. In “Discourse of ‘Shaping’À, the focus is on the parent’s ‘compelled’ reconceptualization of issues and previously accepted ‘truths’ that lie at the core of identity, namely, gender and religion. “Discourse of Incongruous LossÀ shows the trauma, challenges, complexity and many ambiguities in mourning someone who is simultaneously absent and present, the same yet different. It also explores additional aspects of the loss that distinguishes it from conventional loss, such as stigmatism and discrimination, lack of support, and ensuing losses. Data reveal that the discourse of motherhood, whilst placing immense pressure on the parent, also has an empowering effect. Although the discourse of motherhood gives rise to feelings of intense self-blame and hate regarding the trans-identity of the child, and ‘dictates’ unwavering compassion, selflessness, acceptance and nurturance, it also enables a basis for resisting oppression. The final section documents how a personal, painful, private experience is linked to broader social systems. It shows how an initially harrowing experience can become empowering, as the participant not only embraces previously unaccepted ‘truths’, but is also an advocate of transgenderism and contributes to social change. It is important to note though, that although ‘victorious’, the experience is a complex one and meaning-making is on-going. Throughout, the interplay of dominant discourses and alternate discourses and their role in the personal meaning-making experience of the participant, is documented. Various creative strategies are employed in order to enable acceptance of the trans-identity and the continuous meaning-making, such as, for example, vacillating between seemingly contradictory discourses. Based on the findings that emphasises the trauma caused by a dual-definition if gender, it is suggested that a more inclusive definition of gender be adopted, such as defining gender as a spectrum or on a continuum. A redefinition of gender should also include de-pathologising gender variance, but before it is removed as diagnosis from the DSM, resources and assistance enabled by its diagnosis should be readily available so as not to create further obstacles for an already marginalised group. Awareness is vital if stigmatising and discrimination are to be reduced. It is important that awareness be generated and resources be made available, with a special focus to include disadvantaged communities. There is an urgent need for literature within a South African context so that interventions can be designed to assist parents (and loved ones) of transgendered children. This is particularly important since support from parents have consistently been found to reduce both depression and suicide rates of transgendered children. Within a diverse South African context, it is also essential to determine how gender discrimination intersects with various other forms of discrimination pertaining aspects of identity such as religion, spirituality, ethnicity, race and culture. There is a need for the South African government to address the lack with regards to implementation of gender policy with some urgency.

The lived experiences of transgender students at the Windhoek and Khomasdal campuses of the University of Namibia

The aim of this research was to explore and describe the holistic lived experiences of transgender students studying at the University of Namibia by looking at the ways in which the campus climate and environment impacts on transgendered students overall well-being and coping mechanisms. This study also further sought to highlight the presence of a student population that defies conventional gender binaries and that exhibits gender variance. There is a dearth of research both locally and on the African continent on transgender individuals as well as the experiences of transgender students in general. Given this gap, the literature suggests that only few authors focus on the unique experiences of this population. Consequently, this study mainly draws from the literature based on the United States of America (US) experiences and researches. The study relied on semi-structured interviews with eight transgender students and snowball sampling using a phenomenological approach. The key themes that emerged were: gender identity development and formation in a transphobic society, negative and positive experiences as a result of transgender identity, campus climate, health care services and support networks on and off campus. This study provides insight into how transgender identifying students make sense of their gender identity and how societal /organisational systems and climate influence all other aspects of their lives. The findings suggest that knowledge and understanding is needed in order to better serve transgender students as members of the campus community and cultivate a culture of tolerance and an understanding of diversity.

Knowledge levels of mentally disabled persons regarding sexuality and HIV/AIDS

The study is based on the social model of disability focusing on issues of human rights for people with intellectual disabilities. Disability is defined as the social restriction confronted by people with disabilities living in a society that is not organized to take account of their needs. Disability is not an individual condition but rather an issue of equal opportunities. Self-determination for people with intellectual disability should be respected as it is a central aspect of personal well being based on the understanding that disability is a result of social attitudes, architectural, and legal barriers that confront people with disabilities. The research was aimed at the acquisition of information on the knowledge of people with intellectual disabilities about sexuality and if that knowledge is appropriately linked to HIV and AIDS. The study uses research as a scientific tool that will assist policy makers and programme developers to dispel the myths on issues affecting people with intellectual disabilities. Self-advocacy of people with intellectual disabilities in research was key to the research method that was applied. People with mental retardation, head injury, other or any type of actual or perceived mental or cognitive disability are often marginalized by society. The HIV/AIDS global epidemic has greatly exceeded earlier predictions. About 95% of all people infected are living in developing countries, which have to cope with poverty and health problems. HIV and AIDS prevalence can remain undetected for long periods, particularly in local groupings and settings. HIV remains localized before the epidemic spreads to involve the wider population. These localized groupings can be classified as having no known cases. It is during this period that the proactive interventions should be implemented. It is for these reasons that this study was undertaken to address HIV and AIDS among the grouping of people with intellectual disabilities.