Spaces for the Empowerment of Women: Rural Arts and Crafts Projects

D Malema, S Naidoo
2017 African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure   unpublished
The issue of empowering women has become topical at both continental and international level. Taking into consideration the reported challenges encountered by women, (especially women in rural areas) such as poverty, low literacy levels and unemployment, government and local initiatives are seeking ways to empower women so that they can become their own agents of positive change. Previous research has indicated that art and craft-making as a leisure-based activity yields numerous benefits for
more » ... rous benefits for participants, including improved wellbeing, an enhanced sense of self and self-efficacy and economical gains. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, this qualitative study explored the contribution of leisure-based community arts and crafts projects toward the social empowerment of eighteen rural women in two district municipalities of the Limpopo Province (South Africa). Voice recordings and field notes were analysed through qualitative content analysis to develop themes. The results indicate that community based arts and crafts projects in rural areas empower women in four ways. These projects serve as a means for economic empowerment, enhancing a sense of community, establishing networks of support and are also therapeutic for the women. It is concluded that community arts and crafts projects make a positive contribution toward empowering women but require more support from available structures to ensure sustained benefits from participation for rural women.