GENDERED PERSPECTIVES ON FOOD INSECURITY IN SASKATOON
Food insecurity is a growing problem in Canada including Saskatoon. How gender is linked to household food insecurity is largely unexplored. Therefore, this study examined the relationship between gender and food insecurity based on the lived experience of 11 heterosexual couples seeking food assistance or living on social assistance in Saskatoon. This study assessed their perceptions, attitudes and beliefs about food security, household resource management, coping strategies, and food shopping and preparation practices. Data were collected by interviewing 11 couples and ten key informants and analyzed using Giorgi’s phenomenological approach. This study found food decision and grocery shopping were gendered. Female participants were involved more than their partners in decision-making about what food to buy and grocery shopping. Male participants viewed their partners more knowledgeable about food and shopping as feminine activity. Female participants felt more challenged than their spouses in grocery shopping and food preparation. There were no gender differences in other activities of household food management. Spouses supported each other and shared other household resources to manage food related activities. They held similar views about their household food situation and often agreed with each other about their household resources and the price, quality and type of food to buy. They bought foods that were affordable and nutritious. The food preferences of their family were accommodated where possible. They worked to ensure household food security. Food or money received from the Food Bank, CHEP and family were important in dealing with food insecurity. All participants and key informants agreed that food availability was not an issue but for some participants, affordability, access and time constraints were. Key informants and the participants suggested increasing support for families including more opportunities for income generation, increases in government welfare benefits, more grocery stores, transport assistance, and nutrition knowledge and cooking skill. The findings suggest policies related to gender as well as programs to improve food security in Saskatoon.
Gender, Food Security, Food Insecurity, Phenomenology, Saskatoon, Canada
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)