CGIAR Gender

Equality in a post-pandemic era: gender, COVID-19, agriculture and climate change

Combined with climate change, pandemics threaten to slow down or reverse progress in gender equality, further threatening food, income, and nutrition security. 

COVID-19 is intensifying climate change impacts, adding extra pressure to food systems, livelihoods, and health. Women are especially affected by this added pressure due to their critical roles, both paid and unpaid, in food production, healthcare, and the household. Gender-based vulnerabilities are further exposed due to social norms that dictate women’s behavior. For instance, in times of food insecurity, women tend to eat last, often skipping meals.

Women and agriculture

Globally, one in three women works in agriculture, which tends to be informal, low paid, and especially vulnerable to shocks. For example, when droughts and floods limit access to safe water, more time and energy must be spent collecting water for sanitation and food production. In Africa, these effects are aggravated by current lockdowns that have restricted movement amidst conflict and locust infestations. This, coupled with their existing care burdens, means women have less time to spend in their own fields or in paid work when a family member falls ill.

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