The Benefits to Women of Raising Children in SA Explored in Research
Doctoral research by UKZN Economics Lecturer Ms Michelle Hatch aims to explore the costs and the benefits to single, married and working women in South Africa of raising children.
Hatch hopes to achieve this through quantitative research which will provide answers to questions such as who is responsible for childcare in South Africa, what are the indirect economic costs of childcare and what are the non-economic costs and benefits?
‘I love doing quantitative work and this is a topic I have background on - that is how it evolved from my masters into my PhD. In South Africa we have not had a lot of data on physical and financial childcare but with the release of the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) I am hoping to provide the answers to these questions,’ said Hatch.
Hatch’s research also examines family dynamics such as caregivers versus biological parents, the disparity existing between earnings of men and women in the SA labour market and whether social grants realistically bridge that gap, and the differences and similarities between races.
‘What I have found in my research to date is that it is the biological mother who tends to take care of the day to day responsibilities of childcare. Interestingly enough, among Africans it is often grandparents who look after the children due to poverty and other economic factors, while many fathers unfortunately do not meet their financial obligation to their children,’ said Hatch.
The research has also opened up possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration which Hatch is keen to explore.
‘I have had discussions with colleagues from the School of Law to see which legal aspects they can tap into while I do the number crunching so we can combine our research for publication. I am also planning to publish in economic journals,’ she said
- Thandiwe Jumo