Would halving unemployment contribute to improved household food security for men and women?

SOURCE: Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.A.Altman, S.Ngandu
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6696
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/3921
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/3921

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South Africa faces great challenges with extremely high unemployment and deep poverty. A large proportion of households are challenged to meet minimum required nutrition levels. In 2009, the HSRC prepared employment scenarios to see how unemployment might be reduced by 50% between 2004 and 2014, even in the context of the downturn. These scenarios consider what working people might earn in these different scenarios. There is a question as to whether wage income, even in a context of substantially reduced unemployment, would be sufficient to enable working households to achieve nutrition security by 2014. There are substantial differences in households led by men and women. Women have a more precarious foothold in the labour market, tending to be located in lower-paid sectors. The downturn has especially exacerbated this disadvantage, as proportionately more women became unemployed. The economic up-turn has led to jobs being created for men, but continued job losses for women. This briefing considers employment trends in the context of the global economic crisis, gender bias in these trends, and the implications for household food security. It is then considered how food security status might change depending on different employment scenarios.