This year’s theme for the International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”. On this occasion, we have asked CGIAR centers and programs to describe how their research is supporting rural women during times of crises. This post, by the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, is one in series of responses.
By Marlène Elias, Barbara Vinceti, Alain Touta Traoré, Daouda Traoré
There is no question that 2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year globally. Coupled with the looming climate crisis, the erosion of biodiversity, and severe land degradation, COVID-19 has increased global food insecurity and triggered an economic recession that is pushing the nearly one billion people who live on the poverty line towards an even-more precarious existence. Rural women are at the center of this perfect storm.
Long before COVID-19 hit, rural women have fared worse than men and urban women on every human development indicator. Yet, the pandemic has surfaced and exacerbated inequalities, including those based on gender, that shape COVID-19’s social and economic fallouts. Women have been in the spotlight for carrying a disproportionate burden as caregivers, workers in precarious jobs lacking basic protections, and victims of violence within their own households.
Yet, much of the coverage and analysis on COVID-19 has focused on urban areas, and there have been surprisingly few accounts of the gender dynamics of the pandemic in rural areas, or of how rural women themselves perceive this time of COVID-19.
To address this gap, Association Tiipaalga, working with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, spent time listening to rural Mossé women living in two communes (Zitenga and Dapelogo) of the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso discuss their lives and experiences in this period of COVID-19. On the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women, which focuses on building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19, we shine a light on the experiences that these women themselves chose to share due to their significance to their lives. As we report, these have broad-ranging economic, but also emotional and social dimensions that often fall under the radar in global coverage of the pandemic.