Gender and the political economy of health and health care of women with reference to African women in the Natal/Zululand region.
The purpose of this thesis is two-fold: it attempts to develop a feminist theory of health and health care of women and moves beyond the political economy theory of health and health care grounded in Marxist principles. Secondly, it attempts to apply these feminist theoretical principles, incorporating the methodology of historical materialism, to a specific historical situation - that of African women in Natal/Zululand in the nineteenth century. The thesis is divided into three parts. The first provides an overview of the political economy of health and the Marxist theory on which it is based. The second section deals specifically with feminist theoretical concerns: particularly the need to incorporate the concept of gender and the sexual division of labour into analysis of the position of women in society. In addition, it focusses on women's particular health needs and attempts to incorporate these into a feminist theory of health and health care. The third part examines the health and health care of African women in pre-colonial Natal/Zululand by focussing on their role in procreation and production, and changing health patterns and health care under colonial rule.