Employment is Empowerment: Narratives of Employed Black South African Women
Lindley, Clarissa A.
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South Africa's oppressive history has created distinct racial and gender inequalities in today's society. European power controlled the country for nearly 400 years, creating laws and cultural norms that separated Black South African families and eliminated their human rights. South African gender roles give men power and independence and expect women to maintain domesticity and submission. Historical influences have placed Black South African women at the bottom of the social hierarchy, leaving them unemployed, uneducated and impoverished.·The present study examines the narratives of 21 Black South African women who have maintained employment at Phumani Paper Company for at least 5 years. The narratives explore themes of employment, empowerment, nondisclosure, and the participants hope for the future. Employment with Phumani provided the participants with education, personal support, financial stability and the ability to form a unique identity. The women have endured great hardships and overcome the oppression of South African society through their strength and empowerment. Despite hardship, the participants maintain a positive outlook on life and hope to initiate societal change. The narratives of the employed, Black South African women embody the change that is possible for the future of South Africa.
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