Call for contributions: Gender in urban food systems


Urban Agriculture Magazine 37: Gender in urban food systems

January 2020

This issue of the Urban Agriculture Magazine is a joint effort of the RUAF Global Partnership and CGIAR WLE programme.

In this magazine we will explore the issue of gender in urban food systems.

Gender in the food system has been largely neglected by city officials, economic planners and development practitioners, who have tended to concentrate on the industrialisation of food production. Women within the urban environment are disproportionately affected by climate change and disasters, because of their roles and social norms. Women are most often responsible for meeting household food, water and energy needs, when these are interrupted by sudden events or supply chain shocks they hold the burden of responsibility (UNDP, 2019). Also, cultural barriers may leave women and girls at the most risk of adverse effects of disaster.

Adding a gender dimension does not mean considering only women, as men can face inequalities in areas such as educational attainment, dropout rates, criminal activities, violence, and employment. Rather, it shows where certain inequities are present within a city, and considers how to improve the situation for all urban residents. Gender is a "multidimensional spectrum" (Austin, 2016, p. 215).

RUAF strives to apply a gender lens in its work. Previous publications focusing on gender include UA Magazine 12 on Gender and Urban Agriculture, the 2009 book Women Feeding Cities. Most recently, we have included gender as a prominent issue in the City Region Food System toolkit developed with FAO and Wilfrid Laurier University and in the indicator framework of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. Such tools and guidelines aim to show to bring women into the mainstream of urban food value chains and urban agriculture. 

Gender equality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that cities are striving to achieve through partnership in global networks like the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. For this issue of UA Magazine we would like to receive articles that describe the authors' experiences in relation to the following issues:

  • Assessment of women’s and men's roles, gender inequality, gender-related barriers to participation in urban food value chains, and the opportunities for promoting equality;
  • Access to resources, such as land, labour, water and finance;
  • Gender issues in designing and implementing a new policy or intervention;
  • Systematic participatory methodologies in diagnosis, decision making, etc.;
  • Gender in the food systems of societies with restrictive social and cultural norms, weak government commitment or capacity to promote transformation;
  • Intersectional approaches to gender and the food system that include race, class, ability, etc. as an axis for analysis;
  • Examples of transformative approaches to gender in urban agriculture and food systems.

Deadline for articles: 15 September 2019 (abstract or first draft), 1 October 2019 (full article).

Total article length should be 600 (1 page), 1400 (2 pages) or 2100 words (3 pages). We also welcome other type of contributions such as interviews, book reviews, visual stories, videos or infographics.

The magazine will be published in early 2020. For more information or to receive the detailed author guidelines, please contact us at info [at] ruaf [dot] org.


Austin, A (2016). 'There I am': A grounded theory study of young adults navigating a transgender or gender nonconforming identity within a context of oppression and invisibility. Sex Roles, 75 (5-6), 215-230.

UNDP (2019). Gender equality: Climate change and disaster resilience.