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Policy dialogue: Gendered impacts of COVID-19 and gender-responsive policymaking in agriculture and food systems during the COVID-19 pandemic










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    Booklet
    Gendered impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security, agricultural production, income and family relations in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
    Working Paper, 76
    2024
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    Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures implemented to control the spread of the virus have exacerbated existing gender inequalities. This paper explores changes in agriculture, food security, nutrition, and family dynamics in the rural areas of Central Asia – specifically, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan – during the pandemic, focusing on women and men. Employing a mixed-methods approach that combines quantitative and qualitative analyses, the findings reveal that rural women were disproportionally affected due to pre-existing gender disparities and limited decision-making power. Women experienced compounded challenges, including increased unpaid work, additional agricultural labour and household chores, difficulties associated with online schooling and healthcare management, limited access to agricultural resources, and a higher risk of domestic violence. The pandemic heightened women’s vulnerability to food insecurity, whereas Central Asian governments’ interventions failed to support all women effectively. The paper concludes with policy recommendations to guide future policymaking, aiming to mitigate shocks and stressors and develop gender-responsive actions that empower rural women and men. These recommendations focus on improving food security and overall well-being in the rural regions of Central Asia, recognizing and addressing the distinct challenges women faced during the pandemic.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Why are women more food insecure than men? Exploring socioeconomic drivers and the role of COVID-19 in widening the global gender gap
    Background paper for The status of women in agrifood systems
    2024
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    Women face a higher prevalence of food insecurity than do men, both on a global scale and across all regions. This paper delves into the global determinants contributing to the gender gap in food insecurity and explores how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced its trajectory. Additionally, it estimates the impact of improvements in food security and incomes possible if gender gaps on farm productivity and wages were closed. Utilizing data from the Food Insecurity Experience Scale gathered from over 700 000 individuals across 121 countries, this study reveals that individuals aged 25–34 years, irrespective of their gender, and women residing in rural areas have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The econometric model allows the authors to estimate the elasticities of food security to income, which they then use to simulate the potential macrolevel benefits for the economy and food security if we were to eliminate the gender gaps in farm productivity and wages within agrifood systems. The findings suggest that addressing these disparities could result in an approximate USD 1 trillion increase in global gross domestic product and lift approximately 45 million people out of food insecurity. Additionally, the authors estimate that eliminating these gender disparities could reduce the current gap in food insecurity between women and men by at least 57 percent. This background paper was prepared to inform Chapters 1 and 6 of FAO’s report on The status of women in agrifood systems.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Addressing gendered impacts of COVID-19: Experiences from Pakistan
    Webinar – 19 October 2020: Summary points, questions and answers
    2021
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    In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the gendered implications have highlighted the unequal impact of the pandemic. Women in Pakistan are essential contributors to economic and social sectors and have been faced with less access to necessary resources, services, and time– factors that are hindering their productivity. With COVID-19, the multidimensional gender inequalities and gender gaps have exacerbated, giving rise to massive challenges across the country, striking on societies, economies and political systems. The pandemic has also overwhelmed the activity lists of women farmers, who run household obligations while ensuring a safe and sufficient food supply for their families and communities. Preparedness and response efforts must better understand these gender dimensions to avoid widening inequalities. To look beyond the immediate and necessary response to the crisis, there is a need to identify the best strategies to address the impacts by framing policies to build back inclusively and set a new course of action in all sectors, in collaboration with policy makers, local government and other institutions. It is therefore an obligation to adopt communication strategies, including Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) strategies, which ensure vulnerable members of rural communities are targeted, including women and children. This webinar looks at the impacts of COVID-19 on women and explores the gender and COVID-sensitive RCCE activities of two United Nations (UN) agencies in Pakistan.

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