White women's long 'work' to freedom : an analysis of the inconsistencies surrounding the inclusion of white women in affirmative action

Venter, Trace Joan (2004-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since 1994 the new ANC led South African Government has introduced a number of policies that have been aimed at promoting equality in all spheres of life including the employment sector. Forming an important part of these policies has been the upliftment of women who were severely discriminated against under the former Apartheid government. But in recent years uncertainty has risen over whether white women should be included in these upliftment policies. The research problem this thesis tries to address consists of two related problems. Firstly inconsistency seems to exist between the government's two different upliftment policies namely Affirmative Action and Transformation with regards to the inclusion of white women. The second problem is that inconsistency exists between people's opinions over whether white women should be included in policies aimed at promoting equality in the employment sector. This thesis used both qualitative and quantitative methods to address the research problem. With regards to the first problem this thesis studied Affirmative Action legislation the most important being the Employment Equity Act as well government's Transformation policies the most important being the Black Economic Empowerment Act in order to identify the inconsistencies that exist between the two. In order to address the second problem this thesis studies the qualitative arguments of academics for and against the inclusion of white women in Affirmative action. Two case studies are also included which identify the experiences of African and white women in the employment sector under Affirmative Action. Once this is done this thesis moves onto a quantitative method of measurment by study the results of the Markinor M-Bus survey conducted in 2004 in order to identify the opinions of the general South African population with regards to the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action. The results of the M-Bus survey is also used to test the hypotheses introduced in this thesis. These hypotheses aim at identifying whether demographic variables affect South African's opinions on the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action. Six demographic variables were studied namely race, gender, political party support, education, income and age. This thesis clearly finds that Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment do not correspond with each other with regards to the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action. While this thesis identifies that tension exists between academics supporting the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action and those opposing it, it argues that it is difficult to discem which group is right especially when this thesis tries to maintain an objective position. After studying the results of the M-Bus survey this thesis finds that overall the general South African population is seen to oppose the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action. After testing the hypotheses this thesis also finds that age and gender do not affect South African's opinions with regards to the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action. They therefore do not play the role of independent variables. Education, income, political party support and race are found to play the role of independent variables. This thesis argues that these four demographic variables are all components forming a larger composite independent variable in the study. This thesis also argues that some of these demographic variables may play the role of more significant independent variables than others. Race is argued as being possibly the most significant independent variable within this composite independent variable affecting income, political party and education. It is also seen to affect gender and age. Education is also argued by this thesis as possibly being a more signi ficant independent variable than income and political party support. This thesis concludes by arguing that education could possibly replace race in the future as the most significant independent variable which affects the opinions of South Africans with regards to the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action. This would have a positive affect it could narrow the racial cleavage existing between race groups in South Africa today. This thesis also concludes by arguing that the inconsistency that exists between Affirmative Action and the Government's Transformation policies as well as the polarization of opinions between South Africans with regards to the inclusion of white women in Affirmative Action has a negative affect on democratic consolidation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert 1994 het die nuwe Suid-Afrikaanse regenng, onder leiding van die ANC, verskeie nuwe beleide in werking gestel wat daarop gemik is om gelykheid in alle sfere van die samelewing te bevorder, insluitende die indiensneming-sektor. 'n Belangrike deel van hierdie beleide is die opheffing van vroue, teen wie daar swaar gediskrimineer was tydens die Apartheid regering se bewind. Daar het egter in die onlangse verlede onsekerheid onstaan oor die insluiting van blanke vroue in hierdie opheffingsbeleide. Die navorsingsprobleem wat deur hierdie tesis aangespreek word bestaan uit twee verwante probleme. Eerstens blyk dit dat daar 'n teenstrydigheid bestaan tussen die regering se twee opheffingsbeleide, Regstellende Aksie en Transformasie, wat die insluiting van blanke vroue betref. Die tweede probleem is die meningsverskil wat bestaan in die openbare mening oor die insluiting van blanke vroue in beleide wat daarop gemik is om gelykheid te bevorder in die indiensneming-sektor. Hierdie tesis het kwalitatiewe sowel as kwantitatiewe metodes gebruik om die navorsingsprobleem aan te spreek. Met betrekking tot die eerste probleem, het hierdie tesis die Regstellende Aksie wetgewing, wat die Wet op Gelyke Indiensneming sowel as die regering se Transformasie beleide, waarvan die Wets op Swart Ekonomiese Bemagtiging die belangrikste is, bestudeer om die teenstrydighede wat tussen die twee is te identifiseer. Kwalitatiewe argumente, vir en teen die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie, word bestudeer om die tweede probleem aan te spreek. Twee gevalle studies word ook ingesluit wat die ervarings van swart vroue en blanke vroue in die indiensneming-sektor onder Regstellende Aksie identifiseer. Wanneer dit afgehandel is, beweeg die tesis na 'n kwantitatiewe metode van meting deur die resultate van die Markinor M-Bus meningsopname, wat in 2004 plaasgevind het, om die algemene Suid-Afrikaanse publiek se opinies met betrekking tot die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie te peil. Die resultate van die M-Bus meningsopname word ook gebruik om die hipoteses wat deur hierdie tesis aangebied word te toets. Hierdie hipoteses mik daarna om uit te vind of demografiese veranderlikes Suid-Afrikaners se menings oor die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie beïnvloed. Ses demografiese veranderlikes word bestudeer, naamlik ras, geslag, ondersteuning van 'n politieke party, opvoeding, inkomste en ouderdom. Daar word duidelik bevind dat Regstellende Aksie en Swart Ekonomiese Bemagtiging nie met mekaar korrespondeer ten opsigte van die insluiting van blanke vrouens in Regstellende Aksie nie. Terwyl hierdie tesis die spanning tussen akademici wat die insluiting van blanke vroue steun en die wat daarteen gekant is erken, stel dit voor dat dit moeilik is om vas te stel watter groep reg is, veral wanneer daar gepoog word om 'n objektiewe beskouing te handhaaf. Namate die resultate van die M-Bus meningsopname bestudeer is, vind hierdie tesis dat die algemene Suid-Afrikaanse publiek gekant is teen die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie. Nadat die hipoteses getoets is, vind hierdie tesis dat ouderdom en geslag nie Suid- Afrikaners se menings oor die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie beïnvloed nie. Geslag en ouderdom speel daarom nie die rol van onafhanklike veranderlikes nie. Opvoeding, inkomste, ondersteuning van 'n politieke party en ras speel wel die rol van onafhanklike veranderlikes. Hierdie tesis voer aan dat hierdie vier demografiese veranderlikes almal komponente vorm van a groter, saamgestelde onafhanklike veranderlike. Verder word daar aangevoer dat sommige van hierdie demografiese veranderlikes 'n belangriker rol as ander mag speel. Ras word voorgestel as die mees belangrike onafhanklike veranderlike binne hierdie saamgestelde veranderlike, wat inkomste, ondersteuning van politieke party en opvoeding beïnvloed. Dit blyk ook dat geslag en ouderdom beïnvloed word. Daar word ook aangevoer dat opvoeding moontlik 'n belangriker onafhanklike veranderlike is as inkomste en ondersteuning van 'n politieke party. Die tesis word afgesluit met die argument dat opvoeding in die toekoms ras as die mees belangrike onafhanklike veranderlike kan vervang betreffende die invloed op menings van Suid-Afrikaners ten opsigte van die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie. Dit sal 'n positiewe invloed hê in die sin dat dit die rasseverdeeldheid wat steeds in Suid-Afrika heers kan verminder. Verder kom hierdie tesis tot die gevolgtrekking dat die teenstrydighede wat tussen Regstellende Aksie en Swart Ekonomiese Bemagtinging bestaan sowel as die polarisasie onder Suid- Afrikaners se menings ten opsigte van die insluiting van blanke vroue in Regstellende Aksie, 'n negatiewe uitwerking op demokratiese konsolidasie het.

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