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COVID-19, a crisis of capitalism, and gender: Insights from empirical research

Gender research in agriculture tends to focus on women’s productive work, often in isolation from their social reproduction roles and labor, which includes dynamics of natural resources access, control, and ownership. Development interventions tend to evaluate “women’s empowerment” by women’s engagement in productive labor, and primarily by economic instruments. Feminist researchers have argued that a capital-driven approach to gender equality presents a partial viewpoint and is poorly informed of links and tensions between production and reproduction, which are impacted by the complexity and specificity of socio-ecological interrelations. 

In this webinar we discuss two recent research projects supported by the Evidence Module of the CGIAR GENDER Platform. The first study from Vietnam and Myanmar highlights how fishery, livestock, and horticultural production systems rely heavily on women’s hidden labor, inter-generational reciprocal support, women’ own risk-taking, and the changing nature of natural environment. The second study from Egypt shows that poor, marginalized women working in [waste]water irrigation have limited ability to negotiate increasing domestic and productive labor demands on their time. Women’s work in [waste]water irrigation is particularly constraining in Egypt, where a colonial past, persisting patriarchy, and increasing poverty shape the nature of hydro-social relations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on women’s dual burdens of social reproduction and production. Our findings provide evidence on the need to strengthen the analytical lens on labor relations including domestic care work, historicity and context, and intersectional inequalities in understanding gender-food systems research and interventions.

The presentation of these empirical findings will be followed by critical reflections from three panelists who will provide insight on the following issues: 

  • Sectoral approaches to food, water and the environment, and gender complexities 
  • Feminist political economy perspectives and transdisciplinary research 
  • COVID-19, a crisis of capitalism and gender: evidence for systemic, transformative change 


15 February 2022
08:30 am – 10:00 am (Lima/GMT-5)


Viviana Infantas


Via Zoom

Associate Professor
Simon Fraser University

Associate Professor
University of British Columbia

Fellow in Gender and Diversity in Food Systems
University of Greenwich

Gender, Youth and inclusion Lead
International Water Management institute

Social Anthropologist
International Potato Center

Post-doctoral Fellow
International Livestock Research Institute

Gender and Youth Lead
International Rice Research Institute


Ranjitha Puskur (IRRI)

Nozomi Kawarazuka (CIP) and Team 

Deepa Joshi (IWMI) and Team 

Panel discussion
Rosemary Collard (Simon Fraser Univ.)
Jessica Dempsey (Univ. of British Colombia)
Fiorella Picchioni (Univ. of Greenwich)

Esther Achandi (ILRI) to moderate

Closing remarks 
Ranjitha Puskur (IRRI)

Insights from women agri-entrepreneurs’ experience in Myanmar and Vietnam

The gendered dynamics of water reuse irrigation and agriculture in Kafr El Shiekh, Egypt

COVID-19, a crisis of capitalism, and gender: Insights from empirical research