Title: Gender and sustainable livelihoods: case study of South African farm workers

Authors: Stefanie Lemke, Anne C. Bellows, Nicole Heumann

Addresses: Institute for Social Sciences in Agriculture, Gender and Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, Institute 430b, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany. ' Institute for Social Sciences in Agriculture, Gender and Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, Institute 430b, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany. ' Centre for International Development and Environmental Research, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Senckenbergstr. 3, 35390 Giessen, Germany

Abstract: This study investigates how gender affects sustainable livelihoods in terms of the impact on food and nutrition security in farm worker households. Gender variables play a crucial role in the well-being of households, especially for women and children. A case study of South African farms shows that female-headed households, although having less access to earned income, take better care of the well-being of household members. While men remain the dominant earners, women have better access to social grants, remittances from relatives and informal incomes. Households led by women are found to have greater food security, defined as having physical, economic and social access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet dietary needs. The paper highlights the crucial role of women|s access to resources and power relations within households for sustainable livelihoods and the need to include household and gender variables in demographic and health surveys.

Keywords: gender; sustainable development; sustainable livelihoods; food security; nutrition security; South Africa; farm workers; well-being; women; resources access; power relations; within households; female behaviour; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISD.2009.028073

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2009 Vol.4 No.2/3, pp.195 - 205

Available online: 03 Sep 2009 *

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