The Role of Gender in Urban Agriculture: A Case Study of Cape Town's Urban and Peri-Urban Townships

Robertson, Carolyn
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University of Guelph

This study was conducted within the townships of the Cape Metropolitan Area where women began an urban agriculture (UA) movement in the early 1980s as a response to high levels of malnutrition. Currently, both women and men are engaged in the activity, with perceptions for men’s involvement and motivations differing significantly than women’s. A case study approach was used to explore how men and women are experiencing UA, how it is influencing them as individuals, as well as the impact it is having on their households and community. The study used multiple qualitative methods (key informant, semi structured interviews, focus groups and participant observation). Results found equality within the division of labour, and perceptions of men’s and women’s involvement to differ from reality. Additionally, the benefits received by both were largely similar. Tangible and intangible benefits were found at all levels explored—individuals, their households and communities.

Gender, Gender Relations, South Africa, Cape Town, Food security, Capacity development, Food restrictions, Social benefits