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Impact of Covid-19 on the lives of rural women in the semiarid region of northeast Brazil

In early 2020, the world was surprised by the rapid spread of COVID-19. In Brazil, the first measures aimed at social isolation began to be taken in March, when the state governments decreed a quarantine and only essential services continued to function. It is, therefore, a unique moment that brings the opportunity to understand the repercussion that this adverse situation had – and continues to have – in people’s lives, which can contribute to the construction of alternatives for the impacts caused by the pandemic.

Specifically on women, some studies were carried out by the Sempreviva Organização Feminista (SOF) e pela Rede Feminismo e Agroecologia do Nordeste. Such studies highlight the impacts that the pandemic generated – and still generates – in the lives of women, especially with regard to the workload linked to domestic and care tasks. Although they also deal with rural women, these studies were not intended to focus their analyzes on this specific social group.

It is precisely in this sense that the results presented in this study intend to contribute, in other words, to the generation of knowledge about the impact of Covid-19 on rural women, focused on the semiarid region of northeastern Brazil. To conform this research, 366 women, technicians and beneficiaries of the projects were interviewed. These projects are supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), through the Semear International Program, carried out by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).