ACIAR COVID-19 Gendered Risks, Impact & Response in the Indo-Pacific: Rapid Research & Policy Guidance

The overall aim of the SRA is:
To develop an evidence-based approach that identifies the specific risk of economic hardship and food insecurity that women have experienced during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea.

The two high level objectives of the SRA are to:

  1. identify and understand the specific gendered impacts of COVID-19 response on food security and socio-economic outcomes for women across three countries; and
  2. utilise the insights from Objective 1 to outline opportunities and design approaches that will begin to mitigate the harm caused by the COVID-19 disruption at the individual, household, and community level.

Its widely acknowledged that women are more likely to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (Wenham et al 2020). A United Nations (UN) report on ‘Spotlight on Gender, COVID and the SDGs’ found that the outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting progress for women across a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): access to sexual and reproductive rights, political and justice institutions, physical safety, education, clean water, affordable food, economic security and civic participation (Azcona et al 2020). Pre-existing gender inequality in agricultural food chains and food systems will see women ‘significantly impacted in the Asia Pacific region’ (Sanderson et al 2020: 14). A recent assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on food systems across the Indo-Pacific found ‘persistent gender inequalities in the region, such as unequal access to productive resources (including land, service inputs, finance, training and information), markets and institutions, will hamper the realisation of women’s human and productive potential’ (Robins et al 2020: 21). The Australian Government has recognised the risk of long-term hardship for women within the Indo-Pacific due to COVID-19, and has committed to “invest in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment” (Robins et al 2020: 12).
There is an opportunity for Australian, international and partner country researchers and institutions involved in this project to pilot approaches arising from a new era of understanding in gender studies. The priority is to build an evidence base that identifies the specific risk of hardship, insecurity, and inequality that women have experienced during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, to advance evidence-based research that informs future ACIAR work as part of a medium-long term COVID-19 response; and contributes to bigger-picture activities to ensure the Indo-Pacific is part of the discussion and focus for philanthropic and international donor grant schemes.

Iloilo Terminal Market, the Philippines



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