Vulnerable, single and living in poverty: Women's challenges to accessing food in the Australian Capital Territory

Tanya Lawlis, Amanda Devine, Penney Upton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: To explore challenges to food access faced by vulnerable women living in the Australian Capital Territory and surrounds.

METHOD: Qualitative study comprising semi-structured interviews supplemented with quantitative demographic data.

RESULTS: Forty-one women, mean age of 43 years, living in government and community housing who had an income of <$300 per week participated. A total of 78% of women had completed Year 10 or above and 93% had accessed food from at least one charitable organisation. Women requested greater and reliable access to meat, dairy and quality fruit and vegetables. Primary challenges to accessing food included: limited income, distance to food outlets, lack of nutritious, safe and healthy food, limited knowledge of services and opening hours.

CONCLUSION: Access to safe, nutritious and healthy food is difficult for women living in poverty. Acknowledgement of challenges that contribute to women's food insecurity by all stakeholders is essential to address the problem and build sustainable actions and solutions. Implications for public health: Collaboration from all stakeholders within our food system is required to address current inequities to accessing reliable, nutritious and safe food and to reduce individual food insecurity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-546
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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