Young women’s experiences with the Money4Jam gig platform
Date: June 30, 2023 |
Andiswa Kona completed her MPhil in 2022, she shares the findings from her minor dissertation into the experiences of young black women on the mOney4Jam gig platform.
What was my study about?
My minor dissertation was on the experiences of young black women between the ages of 18-35 years old who participate in the gig economy. I looked at their motivations for participating in the gig economy and the platform that I chose to focus on was M4JAM (Money 4 Jam). I decided to focus on M4JAM because a few years ago, I had tried doing M4JAM to make an extra income, but I struggled because I did not understand the platform at all.
I also chose this topic because young people experience challenges with accessing the formal economy because of their age and, in the case of my study, because of their gender and race.
I focused on black women because, as a black woman myself who grew up in the peri-urban area of Orange Farm, I knew the challenges that young women must go through to earn an income including looking after their children because they came from disadvantaged households.
What were the main findings?
- Motivation to work on M4JAM
The first finding of the study was that the participants chose to work on the M4JAM platform because they were looking for job opportunities. The majority of the participants were educated; they had matric or a higher education qualification, but they struggled to find permanent jobs. The participants in the study went on the internet and social media platforms such as Facebook, Tik Tok, YouTube and Instagram to find ways to make an income online. The main motivation that led to participants looking for opportunities online was because they wanted to make an income for themselves, their children and family members that live within the household.
- Experiences with working on M4JAM
Participants shared their experiences with using the M4JAM platform to make an extra income. There are different campaigns or jobs that were available on M4JAM and if they qualified after completing the training, they were able to start working. There were various campaigns that participants did for a range of companies mainly for marketing or stock auditing purposes, as well as for government (such as a condom audit at public hospitals). The study showed that participants were earning an income through M4JAM through all the campaigns that were available on the platform. However, the study found that there were no social protections available for participants – they were essentially considered to be independent contractors like many gig workers. As such they don’t receive Unemployment Insurance and they don’t get paid leave. They did have job cover which was insurance that would protect them if they were injured when they were working in the field.
This study explored how young black women navigate care responsibilities whilst doing gig work. I found that there is a relationship between making the decision to work in the gig economy and care responsibilities. This study found that for young black women, it is important for them to contribute towards the household as a way of caring for their children and families. Most participants started working on M4JAM because they had to find ways to help within the household so that they could purchase food, electricity, data or airtime, clothes, pay rent, transport and any other household needs. But, for those with childcare responsibilities, they needed to do so in a way that also allowed them to care for their children.
After I collected data, I was in awe of the level of bravery and tenacity that my participants had. It is not easy to make an income in South Africa, especially for the youth. I think we need more young people like my participants, young people that never give up, young people that ask when they do not understand a new concept. Every day is a chance for young people like me to reinvent ourselves. We live on a continent that makes this extremely hard, but I am proud to be living in a country where I am given opportunities to keep trying and growing.