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 WorldFish, is one in series of responses.
COVID-19 disruptions to global food systems have threatened food affordability and availability as well as the livelihoods of small-scale actors along the value chain. Rural women in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately at risk. The pandemic and potential responses to it may exacerbate multi-faceted gender disparities, with women from marginalized groups hardest hit.
Research during COVID-19 and other shocks must not overlook the perspectives of rural women, despite social and technological access barriers that pose challenges to women’s engagement. Lack of investment in gender integration—and thus gender data gaps —will create gender-blind responses that will not meet the needs of rural women, including women who are fishers and informal value chain actors. Worse, a lack of gender integration may lead to responses or food system investments that reinforce gender barriers or have negative outcomes for rural women, as was the case with crises such as Ebola.
In response, one critical way that WorldFish is supporting rural women during COVID-19 is through identifying pathways to address gender data gaps during research in times of crisis. Embedding this in One CGIAR’s Quality of Research for Development Framework, WorldFish has created a new resource for research for development teams highlighting strategies for quality that keep the engagement and needs of rural women at the core. Here we share a complementary post that highlights why and how it is central to keep gender integration at the heart of COVID-19 research.