Gendered impacts of COVID-19 and equitable policy responses in agriculture, food security and nutrition

Authored by: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

Categories: Global Public Health
Sub-Categories: Advanced Technologies, COVID-19, Economic Participation, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Year: 2020
Citation: “Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 and Equitable Policy Responses in Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition.” Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, May 2020.

Access the Resource:


As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, many countries are adopting measures to control the spread of the virus. While the health aspects of the pandemic have not affected rural areas as much as urban centres, containment measures pose new challenges to rural women with regards to their roles in household food security, as agricultural producers, farm managers, processors, traders, wage workers and entrepreneurs. Past experience shows that rural women are disproportionally affected by health and economic crises in a number of ways, including but not limited to food security and nutrition, time poverty, access to health facilities, services and economic opportunities, and gender-based violence (GBV). Further, COVID-19 is increasing women’s work burden due to school closures and the additional care needs of sick household members.

This brief compiles evidence from current and previous epidemics to explore the socio-economic implications of the impact of the pandemic on food systems and rural economies, and how a gender-sensitive approach can help address key policy issues related to the functioning of food and agricultural systems and the special circumstances of rural women. It also provides concrete policy recommendations to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on rural women and girls.