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HSRC Press :: Education & Skills Development :: Books and Babies

Books and Babies
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Books and Babies

Pregnancy and young parents in schools

Robert Morrell, Deevia Bhana , Tamara Shefer

Format168mm x 240mm (Soft Cover)
ISBN 10978-07969-2365-3
ISBN 13978-07969-2365-3
Publish Year2012
RightsWorld Rights
DescriptionRelated ProductsEmail To A FriendProduct RatingCustomer Reviews

Books and Babies :: Pregnancy and young parents in schoolsFree DownloadBooks and Babies :: Pregnancy and young parents in schools


Being pregnant and a young parent in South African schools is not easy. Books and Babies examines why this is the case. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative research conducted in secondary schools in Durban and Cape Town, the book explores how teachers and principals respond to the presence of pregnant learners and young parents in school, and surveys the attitudes of fellow learners towards them. Interviews with the young parents themselves yield rich narratives which, accompanied by a visual essay, invite the reader into their lives as they confront the demands of pregnancy, parenting and school. Books and Babies provides a finely textured analysis of these demands and shows the ongoing need to challenge the unequal and gendered load of pregnancy and parenting, both in schools and the broader social context.


1 Pregnancy and parenthood in South African schools
Robert Morrell, Deevia Bhana and Tamara Shefer

Section A   Principals, teachers and the ‘problem’ of pregnancy and parenting
Introduction: A qualitative analysis of interviews with principals and teachers
Deevia Bhana
2  Schools and their responses to the rights and needs of pregnant and parenting learners Lindsay Clowes, Toni D’Amant and Vuyo Nkani 
3 Teacher responses to pregnancy and young parents in schools
Deevia Bhana and Sisa Ngabaza

Section B   Learner attitudes to pregnancy, parents and gender equality: A quantitative analysis
Richard Devey and Robert Morrell
4 Mothers, fathers and carers: Learner involvement in carework
Robert Morrell and Richard Devey
5  Mothers: yes, babies: no. Peer attitudes towards young learner-parents
Richard Devey and Robert Morrell
6 Gender and parenting: Challenging traditional roles?
 Richard Devey and Robert Morrell

Section C   Being a Learner, Being a Parent – School experiences
Tamara Shefer

7 ‘It isn't easy’: Young parents talk of their school experiences
Tamara Shefer, Deevia Bhana, Robert Morrell, Ntsiki Manzini and Nokuthula Masuku   
8  Being a young parent: The gendered sharing of carework
Tamara Shefer, Elron Fouten and Nokuthula Masuku
9 Conclusion: Policy implications and issues for the future
Deevia Bhana, Tamara Shefer and Robert Morrell

10 Photographing young parents
Cedric Nunn  (26 photographs (+ captions) and an accompanying essay)

Author biographies and reflections on parenthood

Appendices (x2)


About the Author/s

Robert Morrell has worked in South African universities since 1982 when he joined the University of Transkei’s History Department. For 20 years he lectured in the Department of Education at the University of Natal/KwaZulu-Natal before joining the University of Cape Town, where he currently works in the Research Office and is an associate of the School of Education. He is editor of Changing Men in Southern Africa (2001) and author (with Debbie Epstein, Elaine Unterhalter, Deevia Bhana and Relebohile Moletsane) of Towards Gender Equality (2009).

Deevia Bhana is associate professor in the Faculty of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She specialises in the study of gender, education and childhood, and has published widely in her field.

Tamara Shefer is Professor and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape. Most of her work, teaching, research and publications has been in the area of gender, HIV, masculinities and sexuality, as well as feminist and critical psychology.


This book steps beyond our oft-repeated concerns about teenage pregnancy, by presenting a gender analysis of the meaning of parenthood for young parents, and the responses of the educational system and stakeholders to teenage fertility and child-rearing. It is essential reading for those seeking to understand this critical area of health and education policy and practice.
Rachel Jewkes, Director of the Gender & Health Unit, Medical Research Council

Our goal in the Department of Basic Education is to support learners who become pregnant and parents at school, to help them complete their schooling and, at the same time, to promote gender equality. This book makes an important contribution to achieving this goal by identifying the obstacles that lie in the way and by suggesting the practices that will help to clear them.
Bobby Soobrayan, Director General, Department of Basic Education

We need gender equality in South Africa. We need to build a harmonious, peaceful and respectful society. Young parents in general and the schooling system in particular carry a huge responsibility. In this book we see how they handle the challenge of caring for children. When we all involve ourselves in looking after children, we contribute to gender equality.
Mbuyiselo Botha, Sonke Gender Justice


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