n Gender and Behaviour - Gendered aspects of food security in Lesotho : implications for an integrative rights-based approach




Over the past decade, international agencies have made efforts to integrate gender concerns into all development planning. Remarkable outcomes have been achieved through this approach in many areas such as education, health and micro-finance, among others. The question of women and food security, however, which has also received similar attention, has failed to translate into the expected outcomes in much of Southern Africa. The tardy reaction to gender-based food security efforts reflects the complexity of the relationship between the two. Food security, in its broader connotation, results from the availability of adequate food at country level, household and individual access to adequate and nutritious food, effective consumption and adequate nutrition outcomes - all in a sustained manner. As such, it is intricately linked with a woman's multiple roles expressed in her productive, reproductive and supportive roles. It is contended that even focused efforts aimed at resolving the problems faced by women in performing one or other of their roles, may fail to produce adequate results, if the issues underlying each function and their connections are not fully understood. Extrapolating from the Lesotho context, this paper attempts to review the various aspects of the relationship between women and food security in Southern Africa, highlighting imperative issues and emerging areas of concern. The central questions underpinning this paper include the effects of climate change on the vulnerability of women and its shorter and longer term impact on women's livelihood, since they are more dependent on 'natural capital' to make a living. This paper proffers an integrated rights-based approach to institutional responses - at governmental and non-governmental levels - to the challenges highlighted.


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