Livelihood strategies of rural women in Eastern Cape and Limpopo
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This analysis of new household data collected in rural Limpopo and the Eastern Cape of South Africa reveals that structural
inequalities exist between men and women: many rural women might be better educated than men, but they remain at the bottom of the rural social pyramid. This is evidenced by their limited access to farm and non-farm assets as well as household spending levels below common poverty lines. This suggests that socio-economic institutions in rural society work against the participation of rural women in agro-food value chains as farm workers, roadside traders and smallholder farmers. This situation calls for policy interventions to clear the structural impediments to gender equity. Social transfers, such as Child Support Grants, might alleviate income poverty in women-headed households and improve food and nutrition security, which is increasingly dependent on affordability. Gender equity in the distribution of critical farm assets remains a vital step to transition rural women-headed households to secure and sustainable livelihoods.