Rural Women Must Be at the Heart of COVID-19 Response and Recovery

September 2020
Celine Salcedo-La Vina, Ruchika Singh and Natalie Elwell (WRI)

It is likely that rural women will disproportionately bear the socio-economic hardships from COVID-19. Restrictions on the movement of people and goods are disrupting agricultural value chains and food systems. Women have weaker land tenure security and less access to productive resources than men. As markets close and cross-border trade declines, women suffer from not being able to sell their produce, and from lacking access to inputs needed for the next planting season. Lockdowns result in increased domestic and care work for women. This report suggests five important tactics: ensure women’s access to information and participation in data collection; ensure female farmers’ access to markets and agricultural resources; build rural women’s resilience to future shocks; expand rural women’s access to social assistance; adopt measures to prevent domestic violence. Women’s rights and empowerment must be a key element of the pandemic response.