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RCCE for COVID-19 prevention Webinar I - Addressing gendered impacts of COVID-19: Experiences from Pakistan

©FAO/ Pakistan

This webinar is made possible by the support provided by the European Union, under the Partnership Programme contributing to the Global Network Against Food Crises, and the American People through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The contents of this webinar are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union, USAID, or the United States Government.

Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) for COVID-19 prevention along the food supply chain webinar seriesAddressing gendered impacts of COVID-19: Experiences from Pakistan

19 October 2020 – 11.00 - 12.00 CEST

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  • Mina Dowlatchahi, Country Representative, FAO Pakistan
  • Sharmeela Rasool, Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan


  • Rosanne Marchesich, Global Support Team Leader, Office of Emergencies and Resilience, FAO

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the gendered implications have highlighted the unequal impact of the pandemic. Lack of gender-sensitivity in the preparation for and subsequent response has only compounded the challenges for women and children.

Women in Pakistan are essential contributors to economic and social sectors and have been faced with less access to necessary resources, services, and time– factors that are hindering their productivity. With COVID-19, the multidimensional gender inequalities and gender gaps have exacerbated, giving rise to massive challenges across the country, striking on societies, economies and political systems. Women are immensely affected, as they are more exposed to health risks, loss of income, take on a larger share of unpaid care work and face a heightened threat of gender-based violence during social confinement measures. The pandemic has also overwhelmed the activity lists of women farmers, who run household obligations while ensuring a safe and sufficient food supply for their families and communities. Approximately 20% of the women in Pakistan are currently involved in income-generating activities. Agriculture, being the largest employer of women work force in Pakistan, is employing 75% of women. With that said, only 55% of women have access to adequate healthcare, and only 34% have reported consulting a medical professional for health-related problems.

Preparedness and response efforts must better understand these gender dimensions to avoid widening inequalities. To look beyond the immediate and necessary response to the crisis, there is a need to identify the best strategies to address the impacts by framing policies to build back inclusively and set a new course of action in all sectors, in collaboration with policy makers, local government and other institutions.

It is therefore an obligation to adopt communication strategies, including Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) strategies, that ensure vulnerable members of rural communities are targeted, including women and children. This webinar looks at the impacts of COVID-19 on women and explores the gender and COVID-sensitive RCCE activities of two United Nations (UN) agencies in Pakistan. The Heads of agencies in Pakistan of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) will share lessons learned from these activities.

Against this background, the webinar specifically aims to:

  • Stress the importance of understanding the specific needs of stakeholders, namely women during the pandemic.
  • Explore the innovative ways of communicating risk and engaging with communities via social and digital media.
  • Assess the potential for replicability and up-scaling of the RCCE activities.
  • Discuss complementary activities/areas between the two UN agencies to address gendered impacts of the pandemic.

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