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Southern Africa

The Gender Dimensions of Water Poverty: Exploring Water Shortages in Chitungwiza

Citation:

Gambe, Tazviona Richman. 2019. “The Gender Dimensions of Water Poverty: Exploring Water Shortages in Chitungwiza.” Journal of Poverty 23 (2): 105–22.

Author: Tazviona Richman Gambe

Abstract:

Water poverty in Chitungwiza has become the poverty of mainly women. Yet the effects of water poverty on the economic well-being of women remain little understood at least empirically. This article seeks to explore the gender implications of water poverty in Chitungwiza and strategies that can be adopted to sever the gender-water poverty nexus. The study revealed that acute water shortages in Chitungwiza have impoverished mainly women as they are the managers of water at household level. Thus, there is need to balance the gender composition of water managers at all levels so that water-management decisions are gender sensitive.

Keywords: gender roles, gender sensitive, piped water supply, water management, water planning

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2019

Hunger for Farmland among Female Farmers in Limpopo Province: Bodies, Violence and Land

Citation:

Makhetha, Esther, and Tim Hart. 2018. “Hunger for Farmland among Female Farmers in Limpopo Province: Bodies, Violence and Land.” Agenda 32 (4): 65-77.

Authors: Esther Makhetha, Tim Hart

Abstract:

This article explores intersections between women’s bodies, violence and land amongst female farmers in Limpopo Province, South Africa. We explore how female farmers negotiate access to land through their own agency and resistance on a daily basis by analysing their narratives and experiences in their quest to access and use land for farming. Based largely on ethnographic interviews and observations the article argues that women’s involvement in farming should be considered not only as an economic survival strategy, but also as an indication of how the female farmers express resistance and agency in their pursuit to acquire land for farming. This article contributes to the body of literature that explores the relationship between women’s bodies, violence and access to land but does so by focusing on land redistribution and some of the challenges it poses to women of different backgrounds and degrees of social power and influence. The paper make four recommendations about how the government can improve its focus on female farmers and get to grips with gender mainstreaming and needs.

Keywords: land redistribution, farming, gender mainstreaming, women's bodies, Limpopo Province

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Rights, Land Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2018

Gender, Feminism and Food Studies

Citation:

Lewis, Desiree. 2015. “Gender, Feminism and Food Studies.” African Security Review 24 (4): 414-29.

Author: Desiree Lewis

Abstract:

Policy research and scholarship on food has rapidly increased in recent decades. The attention to ‘gender’ within this work appears to signal important practical and academic efforts to mainstream gendered understandings of food consumption, distribution and production into expansive conceptualisations of human security. This article argues that the gender-related work on food has wide-ranging and often troubling political and theoretical foundations and implications. Often growing out of knowledge regimes for managing social crises and advancing neo-liberal solutions, much gender and food security work provides limited interventions into mainstream gender-blind work on the nexus of power struggles, food resources and globalisation. A careful analysis of knowledge production about gender and food is therefore crucial to understanding how and why feminist food studies often transcends and challenges dominant forms of scholarship and research on food security. This article’s critical assessment of what food security studies in South Africa has entailed at the regional level and in global terms also focuses on the methodological and theoretical feminist interventions that can stimulate rigorous conceptual, research and practical attention to what has come to be understood as food sovereignty.

Keywords: feminist, food security, food studies, food sovereignty, Western Cape, South Africa

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Globalization, Security, Food Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2015

"People Are Trying to Be Modern": Food Insecurity and the Strategies of the Poor

Citation:

Leahy, Terry, and Debbie Jean Brown. 2016. “‘People Are Trying to Be Modern’: Food Insecurity and the Strategies of the Poor.” Forum for Development Studies 43 (3): 489-510.

Authors: Terry Leahy, Debbie Jean Brown

Abstract:

The failure of rural Africans to heed the message of development projects and improving agricultural practices is widely recognized as a problem in terms of food security and rural development. This study focuses on the situation in one locality of eastern Zambia and adopts a qualitative approach. By looking at local cultural issues a different understanding of the mechanisms of this failure may be attempted. We suggest that food provisioning is constructed in reference to an ideal of modernity in which subsistence production takes a particular (and gendered) relationship to the cash economy. The implication is that subsistence agriculture is conceived as ‘reproduction’ within capitalism rather than as a separate mode of production articulated with capitalism. This ideal of modernity and the associated utopia of food provisioning make it difficult for rural households in Zambia to see sustainable subsistence agriculture as any kind of a way forward. 

Keywords: Zambia, food security, subsistence, gender, peasant

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Food Security, Gender, Households, Political Economies Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zambia

Year: 2016

Seed Struggles and Food Sovereignty in Northern Malawi

Citation:

Kerr, Rachel Bezner. 2013. “Seed Struggles and Food Sovereignty in Northern Malawi.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 40 (5): 867-97.

Author: Rachel Bezner Kerr

Abstract:

In this paper I use seeds in Malawi as both an analytical lens and an empirical focus of study to examine how food sovereignty is threatened or enhanced in a particular location and time. I argue that while food sovereignty was eroded for smallholders through neoliberal reforms to the agricultural system, community and kin practices help to maintain food sovereignty. The intersection of gender and class dynamics, combined with state policies, however, works to undermine food sovereignty for particular groups in northern Malawi. Historical processes of exclusion, dispossession and exploitation changed the division of labour and reduced time and land for diverse farming systems. State policies reduced knowledge and availability of preferred local varieties. While peasants, particularly women, have considerable knowledge of seed varieties, and seeds continue to be exchanged in agrarian communities, young women, tenant farmers, food insecure younger couples and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-affected families are particularly vulnerable to reduced food sovereignty, in part due to gender inequalities, unequal land distribution and social stigma. New efforts to strengthen food sovereignty need to build on community and kin relations, while addressing social inequalities. Understanding the struggles and relations linked to seeds helps us to understand ways in which food sovereignty is undermined or strengthened.

Keywords: Malawi, food sovereignty, maize, seeds, agrobiodiversity, gender

Topics: Agriculture, Class, Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, Households, Livelihoods, Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2013

Gender Vulnerability to Climate Variability and Household Food Insecurity

Citation:

Kakota, Tasokwa, Dickson Nyariki, David Mkwambisi, and Wambui Kogi-Makau. 2011. “Gender Vulnerability to Climate Variability and Household Food Insecurity.” Climate and Development 3 (4): 298-309.

Authors: Tasokwa Kakota, Dickson Nyariki, David Mkwambisi, Wambui Kogi-Makau

Abstract:

Climate variability presents different challenges for men and for women in their efforts to ensure household food security. However, despite their central role, gender issues have received only cursory attention in adaptation studies. This article looks at causes of gender vulnerability to climate variability and household food insecurity in one sub-Saharan African country: Malawi. Data were collected through a household questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and key informants’ interviews in Chikhwawa and Ntcheu districts, located in the southern and central areas of Malawi. Results revealed that exposure and sensitivity to climate risks vary between men and women; therefore, each gender responds differently to climate risks, with men having more opportunities than women. The results highlight the need for policies and interventions to empower women in the access to resources that can strengthen households’ resilience to climate variability. 

Keywords: adaptation, climate variability, food insecurity, gender, Malawi, vulnerability, africa

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Households, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2011

Gender and Conservation Agriculture in East and Southern Africa: Towards a Research Agenda

Citation:

Farnworth, Cathy Rozel, Frédéric Baudron, Jens A. Andersson, Michael Misiko, Lone Badstue, and Clare M. Stirling. 2016. “Gender and Conservation Agriculture in East and Southern Africa: Towards a Research Agenda.” International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 14 (2): 142-65.

Authors: Cathy Rozel Farnworth, Frédéric Baudron, Jens A. Andersson, Michael Misiko, Lone Badstue, Clare M. Stirling

Abstract:

It is remarkable that despite wide-ranging, in-depth studies over many years, almost no conservation agriculture (CA) studies consider gender and gender relations as a potential explanatory factor for (low) adoption rates. This is important because CA demands new ways of working with the farm system. Implementation will inevitably involve a reallocation of men’s and women’s resources as well as having an impact upon their ability to realize their gender interests. With respect to intra-household decision-making and the distribution of benefits, CA interventions have implications for labour requirements and labour allocation, investment decisions with respect to mechanization and herbicide use, crop choice, and residue management. CA practice may impact upon the ability of households to source a wide variety of crops, wild plants, and insects and small animals for household nutrition. Gender biases in extension service design can sideline women. This paper examines the limited research to date on the interactions between CA interventions and gender in East and Southern Africa, and, based on the gaps observed, sets out a research agenda. It argues that attention to gender in CA is particularly timely given the increasing interest in CA as a means of adapting to climate change.

Keywords: conservation agriculture, gender, Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa

Year: 2016

The Effects of Water Insecurity and Emotional Distress on Civic Action for Improved Water Infrastructure in Rural South Africa

Citation:

Bulled, Nicola. 2016. “The Effects of Water Insecurity and Emotional Distress on Civic Action for Improved Water Infrastructure in Rural South Africa.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 31 (1): 133–54.

Author: Nicola Bulled

Abstract:

The South African constitution ratifies water as a human right. Yet millions of citizens remain disconnected from the national water infrastructure. Drawing on data collected in 2013-2014 from women in northern South Africa, this study explores "water citizenship"-individual civic engagement related to improving water service provision. Literature indicates that water insecurity is associated with emotional distress and that water-related emotional distress influences citizen engagement. I extend these lines of research by assessing the connection that water insecurity and emotional distress may collectively have with civic engagement to improve access to water infrastructure.

Keywords: South Africa, citizenship, emotional distress, rural poor, water insecurity

Topics: Citizenship, Development, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2016

Contesting Customary Law in the Eastern Cape: Gender, Place and Land Tenure

Citation:

Weinberg, Tara. 2013. "Contesting Customary Law in the Eastern Cape: Gender, Place and Land Tenure." Acta Juridica 2013 (1): 110-7.

Author: Tara Weinberg

Abstract:

This paper explores how government interventions to restrict African access to land in the 'Ciskei' in South Africa between 1930-1960 impacted disproportionately on women. It focuses on events in three districts, Fort Beaufort, Keiskammahoek and Peddie, making use of archival research to show how African people, particularly women, responded to government interventions that progressively rendered them landless. The paper interrogates how Africans' contestation of customary law and their relationship to the land was intricately tied up with the gendered nature of their family positions, privileges and responsibilities. Since the arenas in which women could voice their issues were limited, men sometimes articulated these issues (albeit in a mediated form) when the interest of a woman who approached them coincided with their own. Male Bunga Councillors appealed to a 'living' form of customary law in attempts to win greater rights to land inheritance for women and younger sons. They positioned their children as 'responsible' daughters and 'responsible' sons. In a context in which the state frequently used the language of 'African custom', in distorted ways, to justify its land policies, men and women contested not only the restraints on Africans' access to land, but also the nature and content of customary law. 

Topics: Governance, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2013

Gender and Land Rights: The Struggle over Resources in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Citation:

Meer, Shamim. 1997. “Gender and Land Rights: The Struggle over Resources in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” IDS Bulletin 28 (3): 133–44.

Author: Shamim Meer

Abstract:

This article argues that the goals of social justice, poverty alleviation and gender equality within the post‐apartheid government's land reform programme are threatened by government's neo‐liberal macroeconomic framework, by shortcomings in addressing gender and because rural women do not constitute an organised social force. The article outlines the key elements of the land reform programme and points to limitations arising from the market‐based nature of the land reform programme. The article highlights innovative mechanisms within the programme aimed at involving women in land reform. These include the requirements of women's participation in land reform pilot programme structures and of gender equality within group ownership entities – the ‘Community Property Associations’. However, the overall approach is to target women without adequately considering gender power relations. The article suggests that while the state can play a significant role in providing an enabling framework, the key to advancing gender equality is women's organisation.

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Justice Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 1997

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