Gender and sustainable livelihoods: Case study of South African farm workers

Stefanie Lemke, Anne C. Bellows, Nicole Heumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Food and nutrition security
  • Gender
  • Livelihoods
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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