n South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences - Historical analysis of African women workers in South Africa during the period 1900 to 2000

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-8812
  • E-ISSN: 2222-3436



The article is a detailed exposition of the history of the incorporation of African women into paid work in the South African labour market. The interlocking effects of racism, classism and sexism exposed African women to income and job insecurity. Historically, access of African women to the labour market was shaped by the gendered nature of the migrant labour system and by legal measures that restricted women's entry into urban areas and waged work. When African women were allowed into the formal labour market, they were only allowed to undertake the low-skilled, low-paying, menial jobs, were excluded from union benefits and forced to work under exploitative conditions.

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