Title page for ETD etd-01292004-132428

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Gcabo, Rebone Prella Ethel
URN etd-01292004-132428
Document Title Money and power in household management: experiences of Black South African women
Degree MA (Research Psychology)
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof C-A Potgieter
  • Black South African women
  • financial decision-making
  • households
Date 2003-05-08
Availability unrestricted
The aim of this thesis was to explore the experiences of black, married, working, South African women in relation to financial decision-making processes within private households from a working-woman’s perspective. The focus was on married women in middle and senior management positions in their workplaces.

Following a literature review to accumulate empirical evidence from similar studies in the areas of Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Feminism and Economic Psychology, eight, individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with black South African women in managerial positions to establish the women’s understanding of the meaning of money, concepts and practices of sharing of monetary resources between husband and wife in the household, the allocation of money as a resource in the household, control of money between husband and wife in the household, and decision-making processes between husband and wives.

The key findings of the study were:

· The diverse construction of the meaning of money. Women’s views on money had an impact on how they viewed their roles in household financial management and decision-making.

· The absence of equal sharing of money and the existence of breadwinning/caregiver ideologies. Three patterns of money management were identified. Joint pooling, where equality of sharing, control and decision-making was greatest, was associated with higher income levels and availability of personal spending money. The female whole wage system, with minimal control and joint decision-making, was associated only with women with high-level income and minimal personal spending money. The independent managed system was associated with completely separate money management, unequal sharing of money, increased power, inequality in decision-making, and increased personal spending money by the breadwinner.

· The pattern of financial allocation adopted had an influence on control and decision-making in the household. In all the systems of financial allocation adopted, women indicated that their partners had a final say in the financial decision-making processes.

The study highlights some policy implications of inequality in financial decision-making. Due to the fact that household based analysis assumes that financial decision-making is shared equally in the households, women and children will most of the time lose out when this is not the case.

It was therefore recommended that a deeper understanding of household decision-making may help the policy makers and researchers alike to focus on women in a more effective way, for example, by designing empowering programmes that will assist women to be involved in the financial planning and decision making in their households.

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