Press Release: SA Must Not Let Its Women Starve During Covid Pandemic

Press Release: SA Must Not Let Its Women Starve During Covid Pandemic

SA Must Not Let Its Women Starve During Covid Pandemic

Press Release 


Johannesburg, July 8, 2021 - South Africa is spiralling into an unbearable rate of poverty which our leadership can no longer ignore, suggest new findings of a national study. Women remain the most vulnerable, experiencing higher rates of unemployment and hunger during the pandemic. [1] 


The National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) is a  nationwide survey of South Africans. The same people are contacted over a number of months to gauge their income and employment, household welfare and behaviour related to COVID-19.


Some of the key findings in the latest NIDS-CRAM research paint a very grim picture for South African women, who remain hugely un- and under-employed, while data shows a slight recovery among men since the beginning of the pandemic.


Women are also burdened with “shielding hunger”, where they starve themselves to feed their children, because they no longer have access to feeding schemes given the failing of the department to provide meals despite the specific judgement on this last year. An increase in school drop outs of over half a million children directly as a result of poverty has contributed to this plight in this regard.


This one tragic snapshot is indicative of both the pre-Covid structural crises, and the awful manner in which immediate crisis determines future failure.


Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) Director Isobel Frye has said: 


“It is shocking that our government continues to sit back while millions of South African women miss meals for days on end. The right to dignity enshrined in our constitution cannot be reserved for just a few - and can only be achieved through a decent standard of living.  


“Our own research shows that each South African needs a minimum of R7,043 for a decent standard of living, so that they can have a dignified life in a world becoming increasingly expensive.[2] There has never been a more important time for our government to prioritise its people.


“As our country’s leadership deliberates over its future in the upcoming lekgotla, we ask them to consider an urgent expansion on social grants so that more people can eat more than one meal every couple of days." 


For more information and interview requests contact SPII’s media desk on email, 


Notes to Editor - 


[1] Access this series of NIDS-CRAM reports here

[2] The Decent Standard of Living is a research project conducted by Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, Labour Research Service and Southern African Social Policy Research Institute. This ongoing research aims to quantify the resources required for a socially derived standard of living. Visit its website here