Empowering Rural South African Women to Lead Local Business Sustainability Educational Initiatives: A Sustainable Livelihoods Approach


Globally, rural women empowerment initiatives have been proved by several academics and practitioners to be associated with the sustainability of local livelihoods. South African post-Apartheid government accept this and embarks on various women empowerment educational initiatives around the country. The gap is in increasing the participation and leadership of rural women in business sustainability-related initiatives that empower young women and sustain local livelihoods. The purpose of the study is to explore alternative processes that empower rural women to participate and lead in business sustainability educational initiatives meant to empower them. This qualitative research design used an interpretative research paradigm to achieve the research objectives. Data were collected from 34 purposively (social network analysis group interviews) and 35 snowballing (semi-structured one-on-one interviews) selected participants from two rural municipalities. Data were analysed using NVivo 12 software. The findings reveal that rural women in South Africa still face cultural and local gender-discriminating rules. The study concludes that such rules impact women’s ability to participate in and lead local business sustainability education initiatives. The contribution of this study lies in the policy recommendations that draw from Sustainable Livelihood Framework and Institutional Theory to counter the discriminating local rural rules and other related challenges.

Author Information
Tshililo Farisani, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Pfano Mashau, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2024
Stream: Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon