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Abstract

In South African society, many women have overcome traditional notions of gender by becoming primary breadwinners in their homes and providing primary financial support for their families. Employing a Phenomenological viewpoint, this paper contextualises the individual lived experiences of South African female breadwinners, utilising data collected from ten female breadwinners from the Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces respectively using in-depth, semi structured interviews. Taking into consideration their intersectional experiences of gender, race, as well as cultural, traditional and patriarchal societal pressures, the study represents voices that have for a long time been silenced and marginalised, to understand how these women make meaning of and negotiate their roles as breadwinners. The findings of this study expose the perpetual archaic divisions and discriminations of gender within society, which continue to hide behind constructions of reform advocating equality among the sexes.

Note on the Author

Bianca Parry is a lecturer in the Psychology department of the University of South Africa, with a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology obtained from UNISA in 2015. Currently working on her Doctoral dissertation, her fields of specialisation are Psychopathology, Community Psychology and Gender and Feminism in Psychology. In 2016 her MA dissertation paper was selected by the Psychological Society of Southern Africa to be presented at the 22nd South African Psychology Congress held in August.

Professor Puleng Segalo is Head of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of South Africa, and is Co-Chair for the Social and Community Psychology Division of the Psychological Society of South Africa. The role she performs within various professional bodies has resulted in her involvement with many innovative research projects. These efforts have resulted in numerous awards, including the 2014 Women in Science Award in the Distinguished Young Woman Researchers, Human and Social Sciences category.

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