We Now Make Our Own Money and Decisions’: Gender Norms and Food Insecurity in the Wakiso District of Uganda



Durairaj, Amialya Elder

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Background: Food insecurity continues to be a challenge for many Ugandan women living in rural areas. Literature from other East African countries suggest that household inequalities may contribute to nutrient deficiencies. The author seeks to understand how gender norms influence food procurement and consumption in Ugandan households. Methods: In this mixed-methods study, 64 participants from two villages in the Wakiso District were interviewed about demographics of their households, and asked questions from FANTA’s Household Food Insecurity Access Scales (HFIAS) tool. Participants were also asked to detail foods consumed within last 24 hours; this data was used to create Household Dietary Diversity Scores (HDDS). Chi-Square, bivariate correlations test, ANOVA and independent T-tests were employed to determine if statistical differences existed between the gender of the head of the household and HFIAS or HDDS. Discussion groups were conducted to explore the intersection between foodways and gender roles. Qualitative data was evaluated through thematic analysis. Results: There was no statistically significant evidence to suggest that the gender of the head of the household influenced HFIAS or HDDS. The mean HFIAS was 9.3 out of 27. The mean HDDS was 6.4 out of 14. The qualitative data paints a picture of women who are economically empowered but struggling with an overburden of household responsibilities. Additionally, participants reported limited access to marketplaces to sell crops directly to consumers, leading to the necessity of selling to agricultural middlemen. Conclusion: Technical investments in low-cost storage technologies are needed to ensure more negotiation power with middlemen and improve household food security status.



Food security, Nutrition, Uganda, Gender, Dietary diversity