Race and Patriarchy: Gender and Migration in South Africa during and after Apartheid

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:06 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Holly REED , Department of Sociology, City University of New York , Flushing, NY
Apartheid was not only a racial project, but also a patriarchal project that encouraged family separation.  By design, black men and women in South Africa had quite different experiences under the apartheid regime, although many times they did not follow the strict patriarchal and racial laws. There is not much good historical data about gender differences in migration in South Africa, so I use a unique data set (2000 South African Migration and Health Survey) that includes retrospective life histories for a nationally representative sample of the black population to investigate the impact of apartheid policies on both men’s and women’s past and present migration patterns. Overall, I find that both women and men became increasingly likely to move over time, both during after the apartheid years and that women were more likely to move with their families, contrary to conventional wisdom and unlike migration patterns in other contexts.  Women may not have moved at the same rates as men, but this paper gives evidence that despite apartheid’s intended effects of family separation, both women and were moving as families. Gender and migration patterns are relatively understudied, especially for historical populations, so this paper has the potential to add to our understanding of both historical and current gendered migration patterns, particularly in South Africa.