No. 10: Gender and Food Insecurity in Southern African Cities
This gender analysis of the findings of AFSUN’s baseline survey of poor urban households in eleven cities in Southern Africa in 2008 and 2009 has implications for urban, national and regional policy interventions aimed at reducing urban food insecurity. By comparing female-centred and other households, light is shed both on the determinants of urban food insecurity – which relate fundamentally to income, employment and education – and on the manifest gender inequalities in access to the largely income-based entitlements to food in the city. These insights can be used to design and implement practical and strategic interventions that could simultaneously and synergistically address both gender inequality and food insecurity. Practically, and in the immediate term, interventions such as social grants and food aid, if targeted at the poorest households, will automatically capture a greater proportion of female-centred households. Enhancing food security for the urban poor requires education and training, job creation, and income generation strategies, ensuring equitable access to such opportunities for women and girls. Supporting and enabling women’s engagement in such activities and enterprises – including in food production and marketing – has the potential to strengthen food security at the same time as reducing gender inequality, in a form of virtuous cycle.