6 August 2018

South Africa: Overloaded and Underpaid - Women and the Role They Play in Feeding Urban South Africa

Photo: Alistar Harris/Abalimi
(file photo).

The gender boundaries in South Africa that decree women must be the sole food providers need to be challenged. A shift towards more egalitarian power dynamics will have positive consequences that go far beyond improving food security.

Food insecurity is one of the most persistent challenges facing humanity. Interventions that seek to address it tend to focus on rural food insecurity and increasing food production. However, with the rapid rate of urbanisation in the Global South, urban food insecurity is fast becoming one of the biggest development challenges of this century.

Absorbing the brunt of urban food insecurity are women. Especially since in cities, food security is not about the volume of food produced but about the amount of income needed to access it. In South Africa, compared to men, women are less likely to be employed in the formal sector and receive less money for the same job. Yet, as women tend to be in charge of providing food for the household, they play a key role in food security. Thus, interventions that enable women...

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