• Women

    Pandemic underscores burden women carry doing paid and unpaid reproductive labour

    Debates about women’s unpaid reproductive labour have been going on since the first woman received cash for her services. Reproductive labour includes cooking, cleaning, and caring for the elderly, the sick and children. It’s important to make the distinction between paid and unpaid reproductive labour. Paid reproductive labour is performed in exchange for money or a wage. Unpaid reproductive labour is done for free, and usually for the household in which the individual lives. This reproductive work has traditionally been undervalued by both formal and informal institutions in societies, whether paid or unpaid. As paid reproductive workers, women often find themselves in occupations that are highly feminised. These are jobs…

  • Women

    To say a whole damned mouth full

    During the last few decades a lot of awareness has been created in South Africa surrounding the education of what non-verbal and physical sexual harassment is. The number of sexual offences that have been reported has increased from 64 512 during the 2001/2012 period to more than 66 000 sexual offences reported during the 2012/2013 period. This clearly indicates that people are feeling more empowered to report sexual offences or that sexual offences are on the increase. Either way, though it may not be all of them, sexual offences are being reported nonetheless. Now, I must make it clear that being a woman, I am writing on behalf of other…

  • Women

    The Handmaid’s fictional (but arguably realistic) Tale

    I recently finished a few seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale (based on the novel by Margaret Atwood), and found the story quite fascinating. What I liked most about it was (though it was an extreme example) its depiction of how quickly freedoms can be removed, but also the demonstration of how social institutions work in reality. For those who don’t know the story, it essentially plays out in a society where fertility has dropped significantly and a regime had been adopted where fertile women are forced to have children for elite couples who are unable to conceive. In this society, fertility is viewed as a moral obligation to ensure the…