Stirring the hornet’s nest: women’s citizenship and childcare in post-apartheid South Africa

by Alfers, Laura Corrigall

Abstract (Summary)
It is a widely acknowledged fact that women’s access to the full rights of citizenship in the liberal state is restricted because of their unequal responsibility for childcare. The South African state, however, despite its theoretical commitment to gender equality, has failed substantially to engage with the issue of childcare and women’s citizenship. This is problematic because in failing to envisage a role for itself in supporting women with their responsibility for childcare, the state has not only neglected its Constitutional commitments to gender equality, but it has also failed to realise the benefits that could potentially accrue to children if women’s access to economic citizenship is not hampered by childcare. Recognising this problem, this thesis attempts to engender some debate as to how the South African state could feasibly correct this failure. In doing so, it uses feminist political theory as a basis and takes a critical view of the two childcare policies that have dominated the debate over women’s citizenship and childcare in Western liberal democracies – socialised care and the neofamilialist model. In concluding it attempts to provide an idea of what feasible, state-based childcare policies could look like in present-day South Africa.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:political studies and international


Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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