NEIL AGGETT LABOUR STUDIES UNIT (NALSU) Labour Studies Seminar Series, Rhodes University, South Africa.

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SEMINAR & WEBINAR: Wednesday, 20th July 2022 4pm, online via Zoom (details below) and Screening in Eden Grove Seminar Room 2


SPEAKER AND TOPIC: Reesha Kara: Institute of Social of Economic Research(ISER), Rhodes University: Non-marital fertility in South Africa: An analysis of trends and socioeconomic factors


THE PAPER: In 2016, 15% of the world's 240 million births were to never-married mothers. This global increase in non-marital fertility is characterised by variations across countries and regions. Levels of non-marital fertility in South Africa are far higher than the global average. Common reasons cited for this increase, in the global north and south include delayed marriage, changing gendered roles, an increase in cohabitation and in educated and employed women and changes in societal perceptions of having a child outside of a marriage. Economically, marriage is postponed until the couple become financially stable and importantly, never-married motherhood is linked to lower levels of education and a lower socioeconomic status. Given this backdrop, the study aims to identify whether there has been an increase in the levels of non-marital fertility among women in South Africa (aged 15-49) and to identify determinants of non-marital fertility amongst these women.


Using data from the National Income Dynamics Study, a trend analysis revealed a significant increase in the prevalence of non-marital fertility in South Africa between 2008 and 2017. Further analysis showed that non-marital fertility is influenced by economic factors as never-married mothers are more likely to belong to low-income households, female-headed households or have low-paying jobs. These findings triangulate with wider findings on births outside of a marriage and thus, contributes empirically to understanding the dynamics of non-marital fertility in a middle-income country.


SPEAKER: Reesha is currently a researcher at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University focusing on human and economic development. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) where her work looked at single motherhood among educated women in South Africa. Her research interests include research methodology, single motherhood, socio-economic wellbeing, poverty and social issues concerning everyday South Africans. Reesha has years of experience and training in quantitative research methodology, focusing on the analysis of nationally representative survey data.


JOINING: Please register in advance by going to:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


HOSTS: The series is run by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) in partnership with the Departments of Sociology & Industrial Sociology, and Economics & Economic History, Rhodes University and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).


NALSU, based in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is engaged in policy, research and workers' education. Built around a vibrant team from disciplines including Sociology and Economics & Economic History,  it has active partnerships and relations with a range of advocacy, labour and research organisations. It draws strength from its location in a province where the legacy of apartheid and the cheap labour system, and the contradictions of the post-apartheid state, are keenly felt. We are named in honour of Dr Neil Hudson Aggett, a union organiser and medical doctor who died in 1982 in an apartheid jail after enduring brutality and torture.




Source:  NALSU Webinar