Gendered effects of land access and ownership on food security in rural settings in South Africa

Mfundo Mandla Masuku, Zinhle Mthembu, Victor H. Mlambo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


South Africa is one of the many countries that experience critical challenges regarding land issues, with rural women in particular having limited access to and ownership of land. This paper argues that land inaccessibility for women contributes significantly to their deprivation of economic opportunities. Secondary data on women and land ownership were extracted from main sources such as peer-reviewed articles and government gazettes. In the execution of this study, a comprehensive literature review (CLR) was conducted to illuminate the topic under investigation. The three phases (the exploration phase, the interpretative phase, and the communicative phase) of the comprehensive literature review method were adopted. The result of the review suggests that the gendered nature of land distribution contributes to the phenomenon of food insecurity that faces numerous women and their households in rural areas. The customary law is a key institutional factor that poses challenges for rural women in acquiring equal access to land ownership compared to men. The study recommends that the South African government should formulate better land policies that provide equal access to and ownership of land for both men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1158946
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • food insecurity
  • food security
  • land access
  • rural areas
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Horticulture


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