Gender and Behaviour

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Analysis of Women Empowerment in South African Water Boards: A Special Reference to Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs) in South Africa

VM Mmbengwa, TP Ntili, R Haines, JA Groenewald, HD van Schalkwyk


The aim of the study was to investigate women’s empowerment in water boards of South Africa. The study was carried out in all South African water boards (n=14) using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. A non-probability sample (which used a purposive sampling frame) was used, resulting in a non-representative sample size (n=409). Qualitative data were collected through a combination of literature reviews, interviews, questionnaires, and observations. The results revealed that males have fair access to managerial and advisory positions such as junior  management and water expert categories at a relatively young age. However, at the governance level, males compared to females are dominant at executive level. Very little women empowerment at these boards was evident. Women appear to lack succession prospects in other critical governing positions of South African water boards. The study recommends for a special attention to affirm women in the water boards in a sustainable manner.

Keywords: gender, representation, governance, empowerment, boards

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