Gender in urban food systems
This Urban Agriculture magazine edition (PDF) of RUAF identifies the ways in which gender and inclusivity have been neglected in urban food policy, practice and research. The food system has an endemic gender problem. There are significant barriers to participation in food value chains due to socially determined identities, roles, rights and obligations of women and men, and structural inequalities embedded in the system. Most work on gender inequalities has focused on rural areas, but there are vast gendered disparities in urban food systems too, which have been largely neglected by city officials, economic planners and development practitioners. For instance, women more often work in informal stalls and perform double work (earning income and responsible for the household). Women and girls are more likely to face hunger and malnourishment and climate related shocks can exacerbate pre-existing city region food system vulnerabilities. However, men and boys face inequality in areas lik educational attainment, dropout rates, criminal activities, violence and employment. Thus, there is no universal urban food experience. An intersectional gender lens shows where certain inequities are present within a city, and considers how to improve the situation for all urban residents. Bold ambitions must be pursued through policies and programmes throughout urban food systems. Moreover, the state of the art on how to achieve equality and empowerment has evolved in the last decade. Firstly, concepts such as gender awareness and mainstreaming do not go far enough. Secondly, there is greater recognition that gender discrimination in urban spaces and food systems is not homogeneous. There is an urgent need for many more cities and city regions to work on issues surrounding all genders in urban food systems. It is crucial that responses do not just involve application of technocratic frameworks and that they move beyond gender awareness and mainstreaming to enablethe reversal of pervasive and systemic intersectional inequalities.