UKZN Academic Publishes in International Journal

Dr Michelle Hatch
Dr Michelle Hatch.

Senior lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics, and Finance, Dr Michelle Hatch has published an article in the Families, Relationships and Societies (FRS) journal.

FRS is a growing international journal published in the UK that aims to be the outlet of choice for family studies scholars who are addressing issues of theoretical, methodological and empirical importance.

Hatch’s article: An Unbalancing Act: Gender and Parental Division in Childcare in South Africa is an extension of the research she conducted for her PhD thesis Economic Studies of Motherhood and Childcare in South Africa. It presents a detailed overview of the involvement in childcare of men compared with women, and fathers compared with mothers.

It further examines the gender and parental division in assistant childcare, investigating the role played by absent parents in regular physical and financial care, and analysing the gender division in household income of households in which children live.

International and South African law requires both parents to take responsibility for the physical and financial care of their child(ren). ‘The study contributes to this literature by examining whether assistant caregivers are men or women, and how the gender division in assistant childcare varies by household type. I am able to identify the types of households in which men partially compensate for their lack of involvement as primary caregivers by helping with childcare,’ said Hatch.

‘The study also sheds light on whether children are more likely to be supported by the resources of women or men using the most recently available data collected by the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS),’ she added.

Hatch’s research findings indicate that the majority of African children aged 14 and younger are cared for by women alone, with only a small proportion being solely cared for by men. The study also confirms the findings of previous research that the majority of African children have a father who is absent.

‘The results of my analysis indicate that it is important that we continue to discuss and research the different childcare experiences of mothers and fathers, and women and men and as my research indicates, in most instances, children are supported by women/mothers rather than men/fathers. If we don’t acknowledge these very large imbalances when it comes to childcare responsibility, we will never find an equitable balance,’ she said.

‘The intention of undertaking this research was not to be divisive but rather to present the facts so that we can start to improve the socioeconomic circumstances of women and children – an objective which is repeatedly stated by our government. I hope that it can lead to tangible changes,’ added Hatch.

The results of her study were published online on 8 November.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied

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UKZN Academic Publishes in International Journal

Senior lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics, and Finance, Dr Michelle Hatch has published an article in the Families, Relationships and Societies (FRS) journal. FRS is a growing international journal published