Women’s Households and Social Exclusion: A look at the Urbanisation Dimension

by CROSS,C., 2008
Agenda, 22(78), 106-119.

It is widely agreed that women-headed households are the most excluded constituency in South Africa. Government delivery aims specifically to empower poor women and their families to gain access to the developed economy in order to promote their escape from poverty, but how best to do this is not always clear. Poverty at household level relates closely to where the household is able to settle, in relation to whether members can access the job market. Beyond subsidy housing and social grants as the main vehicles of anti-poverty delivery, there are policy implications for how South Africa deals with women’s urbanisation and housing delivery. Major types of settlement have specific demographic profiles associated with specific types of housing. The share of women’s households is one such factor, and the types of settlement where women concentrate are often marginalised for earning opportunities. This article begins to analyse the poverty dynamics and consequences of where women’s households live, in relation to their access to earning opportunities. Questions include: Where are women’s households placed now in the space economy? Does the present location situation allow women access to earning opportunities or does exclusion prevail? Do women benefit from greater access to economic opportunities in the metro urban core zones?