Poverty and Unemployment

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Poverty and unemployment are major factors undermining young women. When families are not able to provide the basics, young women are left to search for financial support.

“Poverty plays a big role, it makes us young women want to escape it to survive it even it means selling our souls. We have no idea what human dignity, dignity is foreign to us.”

“We have no money for even the basic stuff such as sanitary pads”

Many young women are forced to assist their parents, especially when the father is not present, to look after their siblings, to provide food, school uniforms and other needed things

Boyfriends with Money and Older Men

“Many of us rely on our boyfriends with money for basic things. Some continue toxic relationships simply because the man can provide for their needs”

“Young women date older men, because they are not working and they say at least they will be taken care of.

“A man buys a woman drinks at a tavern or even buy them food. Then they think that they are already dating and that they woman is his property”

Jobs for Sex

“A lot of time when women are looking for work there must be an exchange for sex for a woman to be employed. The pressure is great because the unemployment rate is very high.”

“It is hard to get a job if you don’t know someone. If that someone is a man, then he proposes sex.”

“After grade 12 I did an administration course at a college. Due to a lack of work I had to go and work as a domestic. I heard that our municipality has a post for admin. I applied and was called for an interview. A man called me saying I should come to his office. He told me that there is “nothing for mahala”, its rather a “table interview” or that I pay R2500. I pleaded saying I won’t sleep for work. Please wait for me to get paid so that I will pay you. The guy refused and insisted on sex. At first, I was tempted, but then I refused. I did not want to lose my dignity and suffer the danger of sexual diseases.”

Fake Marriages with Foreign Nationals

“Women in our township link up with foreign nationals. Foreign nationals take advantage of the woman’s state of poverty. They ask them to marry them and they promise them that they will give them an amount of R400 per month. This fake marriage means that they women cannot apply for a child support grant. use them to get permits. They marry them and then pay them a small amount of money. This

Prostitution

“Many young women end up in prostitution, even staying with an older man for regular payments is a form of prostitution”

“Out of 100% it’s only 25 % of young women who support their kids with the little they receive to buy food, clothes and the necessity’s for the kids but many of which end in prostitution because of unemployment and if only they can get money to buy booze to forget their problems and yes she stated that dating older men it makes it better to get what they need such as clothes, toiletries and other stuff”

“She said that unemployment pushes or drives young women in to prostitution in around Diepkloof to either get drugs, alcohol and other needs, many women end up being victim’s because of unemployment”.

The Problems with Setting Up Small Businesses

Women do attempt to get an income through small business activities.

“Women find it difficult to set up their own small business. They get no support from government”

“Even if one starts a small business of selling at a street corner, the JMPD (city police) will be there to harass people who are trying to build something for themselves. They have their possessions taken from them. If the government could protect and respect the rights of people selling in the street corners and pavements, then many people would create employment for themselves.

The Poverty Traps

“Poverty is more than just a lack of income or not working. Lack of resources causes one to think passively, includes shame and limited access to education.”

“Our parents can hardly afford money for us to go to school. We end spend weekends in the taverns. We sleep with different men in exchange for alcohol and money. We end up contracting diseases and having children we cannot support.

Failure of the Education System

“We we’re all made to believe that education is the key by our parents and the government but reality is that’s not true you go to school waste +-15yrs with the hope that when you finished school you’ll be employed and you’ll take care of yourself after graduation you become excited and say I won I have the key with me when you go knock on the door, the door slams on your face and the world is looking up to you to excel but how do you excel when you have a key that doesn’t open the door in front of you? You become frustrated in the sense that Boom you choose a short cut that takes you to the deep end which is drugs just to shift your focus and think it’s an easy way. You don’t have any more answers to your peers because they dropped out from school but you kept going until to the last bit (graduation) they still say the same thing that “you thought you were better than us but look now as you educated but we are in same WhatsApp group” we all not working despite the fact that you are a University graduate we drink together we might as well look out for Blesser (sugar daddy) to buy us alcohol and drugs we feed our cravings in exchange for sex.”