Gender, power and resistance to change among two communities in the Western Cape, South Africa

Tamara Shefer, Mary Crawford, Anna Strebel, Leickness C. Simbayi, Nomvo Dwadwa-Henda, Allanise Cloete, Michelle R. Kaufman, Seth C. Kalichman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study investigates how women and men in the Western Cape, South Africa, construct their gender identities and roles. As part of the development of an HIV prevention intervention for men, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted. Several themes regarding the construction of gender were identified. First, participants reported that traditional gender relations of male dominance and female subservience were still in evidence, along with traditional gender roles that mandated a division of labour between the household and paid workforce. Second, participants reported a shift in gender roles and relations in the direction of increased power for women. Last, hostile resistance to changes in gender power relations was evident in the discussions. Redefining masculinity and femininity and shifting gender relations in the direction of 'power with' instead of 'power over' is perhaps a necessary prelude to lasting social change and curbing the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-182
Number of pages26
JournalFeminism and Psychology
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Femininity
  • Gender equality
  • Gender roles
  • HIV
  • Masculinity
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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    Shefer, T., Crawford, M., Strebel, A., Simbayi, L. C., Dwadwa-Henda, N., Cloete, A., Kaufman, M. R., & Kalichman, S. C. (2008). Gender, power and resistance to change among two communities in the Western Cape, South Africa. Feminism and Psychology, 18(2), 157-182. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353507088265