Gender equality and economic growth in South Africa : a feminist institutional analysis
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This dissertation builds upon the work of Kabeer (2016), and seeks to; better understand the pattern, rather than the pace, of economic growth, in order to explore the causal pathways between the types and patterns of economic growth and the dimensions of gender equality. It seeks to describe the role of gender in social, political and economic life and to determine how gender roles are delineated and defined in South Africa, as well as, how this has affected formal institutions and institutional change. Traditional economic methods tend to overlook the role that gender plays in interacting and constructing various institutions and social contexts (Figart, 2005). Using a Feminist Institutional Framework, this dissertation provides an analysis of the interconnections between the causal pathways of the types and patterns of economic growth and dimensions of gender equality in South Africa post-1994. Essentially, the dissertation makes use of pre-existing studies together with descriptive statistics for insights into the pathways likely to be driving this bidirectional relationship. One of the conclusions in this dissertation agrees with Helmke and Levitsky (2004), who argue that informal institutions can either reinforce or undermine institutional change. The dissertation supports latter. South Africa’s formal institutions are excellent, on paper. Holding the country back is the lack of awareness and acknowledgement of the effect of informal institutions (i.e., patriarchal attitudes and ideologies) on policymakers, and in turn policy design, because institutions are inherently gendered (Acker, 1992). Moreover, gender disparities in unpaid reproductive duties are also associated with gender inequalities in labour force participation, this link is often overlooked (OECD, 2014). South African women spend 249.6 minutes on unpaid care work relative to men who spend 102.9 minutes (OECD, 2022). Moreover, South African men spend 294.2 minutes in paid labour relative to women who spend 195.0 in paid work (OECD, 2022).