Exploring adaptation and agency of mothers caring for disabled children in an urban settlement in South Africa: A qualitative study

Elise J. van der Mark, Ina Conradie, Christine W. M. Dedding, Jacqueline E. W. Broerse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Mothers of disabled children who are living in poverty face multiple interlinked disadvantages in relation to gender, care, disability, and poverty. Yet, their experiences have been largely neglected in academic literature. This study explores how mothers from a poor urban settlement in South Africa manoeuvre, adapt, act and react in such a difficult context, and how they maintain or improve their own and their family's wellbeing. Our qualitative research with 30 mothers shows women's adaptation and agency in the trade-offs they make. Fuelled by social discrimination and abuse, mothers prefer to focus solely on the child, its care and the household in order to keep themselves and their child safe. Despite providing certain benefits that mothers value, these preferences perpetuate or indeed worsen their position in society, as they reinforce traditional gender structures and render them invisible to policymakers. This poses serious challenges for women's empowerment and gender-sensitive poverty-reduction policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102271
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume76
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this

@article{bbb51b8b3682413cab522cb2c08edc4c,
title = "Exploring adaptation and agency of mothers caring for disabled children in an urban settlement in South Africa: A qualitative study",
abstract = "Mothers of disabled children who are living in poverty face multiple interlinked disadvantages in relation to gender, care, disability, and poverty. Yet, their experiences have been largely neglected in academic literature. This study explores how mothers from a poor urban settlement in South Africa manoeuvre, adapt, act and react in such a difficult context, and how they maintain or improve their own and their family's wellbeing. Our qualitative research with 30 mothers shows women's adaptation and agency in the trade-offs they make. Fuelled by social discrimination and abuse, mothers prefer to focus solely on the child, its care and the household in order to keep themselves and their child safe. Despite providing certain benefits that mothers value, these preferences perpetuate or indeed worsen their position in society, as they reinforce traditional gender structures and render them invisible to policymakers. This poses serious challenges for women's empowerment and gender-sensitive poverty-reduction policies.",
author = "{van der Mark}, {Elise J.} and Ina Conradie and Dedding, {Christine W. M.} and Broerse, {Jacqueline E. W.}",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1016/j.wsif.2019.102271",
language = "English",
volume = "76",
journal = "Women's Studies International Forum",
issn = "0277-5395",

}

Exploring adaptation and agency of mothers caring for disabled children in an urban settlement in South Africa: A qualitative study. / van der Mark, Elise J.; Conradie, Ina; Dedding, Christine W. M.; Broerse, Jacqueline E. W.

In: Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 76, 102271, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring adaptation and agency of mothers caring for disabled children in an urban settlement in South Africa: A qualitative study

AU - van der Mark, Elise J.

AU - Conradie, Ina

AU - Dedding, Christine W. M.

AU - Broerse, Jacqueline E. W.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Mothers of disabled children who are living in poverty face multiple interlinked disadvantages in relation to gender, care, disability, and poverty. Yet, their experiences have been largely neglected in academic literature. This study explores how mothers from a poor urban settlement in South Africa manoeuvre, adapt, act and react in such a difficult context, and how they maintain or improve their own and their family's wellbeing. Our qualitative research with 30 mothers shows women's adaptation and agency in the trade-offs they make. Fuelled by social discrimination and abuse, mothers prefer to focus solely on the child, its care and the household in order to keep themselves and their child safe. Despite providing certain benefits that mothers value, these preferences perpetuate or indeed worsen their position in society, as they reinforce traditional gender structures and render them invisible to policymakers. This poses serious challenges for women's empowerment and gender-sensitive poverty-reduction policies.

AB - Mothers of disabled children who are living in poverty face multiple interlinked disadvantages in relation to gender, care, disability, and poverty. Yet, their experiences have been largely neglected in academic literature. This study explores how mothers from a poor urban settlement in South Africa manoeuvre, adapt, act and react in such a difficult context, and how they maintain or improve their own and their family's wellbeing. Our qualitative research with 30 mothers shows women's adaptation and agency in the trade-offs they make. Fuelled by social discrimination and abuse, mothers prefer to focus solely on the child, its care and the household in order to keep themselves and their child safe. Despite providing certain benefits that mothers value, these preferences perpetuate or indeed worsen their position in society, as they reinforce traditional gender structures and render them invisible to policymakers. This poses serious challenges for women's empowerment and gender-sensitive poverty-reduction policies.

UR - https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?partnerID=HzOxMe3b&scp=85070934477&origin=inward

U2 - 10.1016/j.wsif.2019.102271

DO - 10.1016/j.wsif.2019.102271

M3 - Article

VL - 76

JO - Women's Studies International Forum

JF - Women's Studies International Forum

SN - 0277-5395

M1 - 102271

ER -