The Universal Declaration of Human Rights introduces the recognition of the inherent dignity of all people as a foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Dignity plays a prominent role in South Africa’s Constitution, both as a foundational value and a right. Dignity can also be considered as a psycho-social phenomenon and at times these two notions of dignity (‘dignity as principle’ and ‘dignity in practice’) can seem disconnected. In this study we explored the linkages by investigating the impact of poverty on dignity, and in particular the extent to which dignity is experienced as violable.
Thirty-six focus groups and 16 in-depth interviews were undertaken in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape in South Africa with low income female caregivers. Just under 200 women took part in the focus groups. Interviews were also held with senior policy makers in government, and social attitudes were explored more broadly in relation to dignity, poverty and social security using data from the HSRC’s South African Social Attitudes Survey.
Wright, G.; Noble, M.; Ntshongwana, P.; Neves, D.; Barnes, H. Poverty erodes dignity: perspectives of low income female caregivers in South Africa. (2014) 4 pp.