Child Health and Relatives’ Employment in South Africa: The Gendered Effect Beyond Parents

  • Arlette Simo Fotso
  • Oluwaseyi Dolapo Somefun
  • Clifford Odimegwu
Part of the Gender, Development and Social Change book series (GDSC)


This chapter assesses how children’s serious illness or disability affects the labour market participation of all adults living in a household. The chapter goes beyond the usual father–mother analyses and accounts for the context of developing countries characterised by an extended family structure. It uses the National Income Dynamics Study panel data and utilises fixed-effects logistic regressions and linear regressions for analysis. The results show that a child’s illness or disability significantly increases the employment odds of fathers while reducing those of mothers. These effects are even stronger among married parents. Non-parent males are more likely to work, while no significant effect is found on non-parent females. Child illness is associated, although not significantly, with the wider difference in the proportion of males and females working at the household level. This shows that there is an urgent need for policymakers to be concerned about families with ill or disabled children and to reduce the employment gender gap and make progress towards the fifth Sustainable Development Goal.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arlette Simo Fotso
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oluwaseyi Dolapo Somefun
    • 2
  • Clifford Odimegwu
    • 2
  1. 1.ICAP at Columbia UniversityPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Demography and Population StudiesSchools of Public Health and Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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