Johanna Kehler



A lot has been said, done and published on the topic of women and poverty. This article will first provide a short introductory outline of poverty and the feminisation thereof. Secondly, the article will explore the problems regarding women and poverty in the South African context. Emphasis will be given to rural women and women on farms, as two of the most marginalised groups of women in South Africa.

South Africa, in the midst of transformation, is struggling to overcome the burden of race, class and gender-based inequality inherited during the periods of colonialism and Apartheid. The main goals of the transformation process include the facilitation of socio-economic development and growth, the enhancement of the standard of living, and the empowerment of the historically disadvantaged people, particularly women and the poor.

However, women’s realities in South Africa are still determined by race, class, and gender-based access to resources and opportunities. This further suggests that race, class and gender are the determinants for the prevailing political, social, and economic inequalities. Thus poor black women’s access to resources, opportunities and education, as well as their access to growth and wealth of the country is severely limited. Black rural women are the ones faced with an even greater lack of access to resources and prosperity and therefore live under immense poverty.