Left out and left behind: COVID19, hunger, and gender inequality
This report (PDF) by CARE demonstrates how women and girls are disproportionately affected—as producers, providers, and consumers of food—and systemically excluded from response reports and plans related to food and nutrition security during the COVID-19 pandemic. CARE interviewed more than 4,500 women from 64 countries about how the pandemic is affecting their livelihoods, and ability to feed their families. The most immediate priority was food and income, and the biggest challenge is the increasing burden on women. Food insecurity is already hitting women in severe ways. Women eat less and last. CARE is already seeing this tendency in the COVID19 pandemic. In Bangladesh, for example, 33 percent of women cut down on their own food intake in an attempt to hold on to their savings. These inequalities are no less true on the global level. Whether intentionally or by omission, global responses to COVID-19 and related hunger crises are either ignoring women and girls or treating them as victims who have no role in addressing the problems they face. To curb the hunger pandemic and address its disproportionate effects on women and girls, CARE recommends: 1) Governments immediately scale up gender-responsive social safety nets; 2) All donors commit that all funding supports gender equality ; 3) Governments include at least one gender expert on all of their COVID-19 response teams; 4) All COVID-19 coordination, planning, and priority-setting platforms be gender-balanced; 5) All donors recognize women and girls as leaders in food systems; 6) The UN Secretary General’s Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition be updated to include gender inequality.