Gendering COVID-19: Impact and Strategies towards Gender Inclusive Recovery
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Delhi. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Title:||Gendering COVID-19: Impact and Strategies towards Gender Inclusive Recovery|
|Keywords:||Gender; Women; COVID-19; Pandemic|
|Issue Date:||January 7, 2023|
|Publisher:||IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute|
|Abstract:||The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities of various kinds through the deadly impact of lockdowns, quarantines, and the resurgence of various strains of the novel coronavirus. In addition to challenging global health systems, it has aggravated the existing gender disparities across the globe which has significant implications for women. The current paper looks at some of the prominent impacts of the pandemic on women in the Indian context from a gendered lens. It also suggests gender-inclusive strategies to deal with the emerging challenges in the post-COVID scenario.|
|Appears in Collections:||IPRR Vol. 1 (2) [July-December 2022]|
(July–December 2022) Volume 1, Issue 2 | 7th January 2023
ISSN: 2583-3464 (Online)
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities of various kinds through the deadly impact of lockdowns, quarantines, and the resurgence of various strains of the novel coronavirus. In addition to challenging global health systems, it has aggravated the existing gender disparities across the globe which has significant implications for women. The current paper looks at some of the prominent impacts of the pandemic on women in the Indian context from a gendered lens. It also suggests gender-inclusive strategies to deal with the emerging challenges in the post-COVID scenario.
“The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic”
(UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, April 2020).
The year 2020 made a milestone year for gender equality owing to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the most comprehensive and transformative global agenda for the achievement of gender equality. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caught the entire world unaware and unprepared and jolted everyone across the globe, bringing everything to a standstill with incomparable changes across the world.
The pandemic not only halted the slow but steady tramp towards gender equality across the globe but also exacerbated the already existing gender inequalities and reversed the hard-won advances towards the accomplishment of goals. While the world became familiar with “stay-at-home” and “lockdown” orders that were adopted as unprecedented measures to keep everyone safe amidst the coronavirus pandemic, another “Shadow Pandemic” emerged along with the growing evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on women and girls.
As on 21st February 2022, COVID-19 has impacted more than 424 million cases across the world, with more than 42.8 million affected in India. The Lockdowns and the varied phases of ‘Unlock’ in India amidst the various variants of the deadly virus have impacted everyone in overt as well as covert ways. While most sectors of the economy have already become functional, there are still fears, and doubts in the minds of people owing to the recurrent news related to reinfections and the discovery of newer strains of the virus. While most people have moved out of the comfort of their homes amidst the diminishing numbers of active cases since the ebbing of the third wave in the country, the pandemic has left those vulnerable, still feeling numb and lost due to their helplessness, caregiving responsibilities, relapse of illnesses or even loss of loved ones.
For women and girls, simply by virtue of their sex, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated across every sphere of society, from health to the economy, security to social protection (United Nations, 2020). The UN Report on COVID-19 and girls and women (2020) termed Covid-19 as a ‘Shadow Pandemic’ due to:
“the spike in domestic violence as girls and women are sheltering-in-place with their abusers; the loss of employment for women who hold the majority of insecure, informal and low paying jobs; the risk shouldered by the world’s nurses, who are predominantly women; and the rapid increase in unpaid care work that girls and women provide already”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also deepened the ‘crisis of care’ (Fraser 2016), or of social reproduction in a broader sense, which lies at the foundation of the economy, society, and households, enabling structures and institutions to function. Women and girls are particularly deprived during the crisis due to unequal structures, power relations, and social norms that prevent them from accessing basic services, including healthcare and education, and participating in decision-making processes that affect their lives (Dugarova, 2020).
Presented below is an account of the impact of Covid 19 Pandemic on women from a gender lens:
- Increased domestic responsibilities
Before COVID-19 became a universal pandemic, globally women performed an average of three-quarters, or 76.4 percent of the total amount of unpaid care work (Charmes, 2019). According to the “Time to Care” report by Oxfam (2020), women and girls spent 3.26 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day, making a contribution to the Indian economy of Rupees 19 lakh crore per year, which is equivalent to 20 times the entire education budget of India. In the context of our country, Indian women do nearly six hours of unpaid care work every day as compared to men who spend less than an hour per day.
Lockdowns and self-quarantine measures across the world increased women’s workload manifold as more people were home-bound than ever before for a very lengthy and continued period of time. As a consequence, of the abrupt shutting of offices and educational institutions, and the resultant Work From Home (WFH) and online education, women’s unremunerated chores in the household increased significantly. With the heavily toppled daily schedules of the family members and, the lack of services for domestic help, the pandemic has left women distressed. Also, the widespread closure of schools and childcare facilities has led to ‘homeschooling’, a new task that seems to be being taken primarily by women (Dugarova, 2020).
Owing to the gendered expectations and sexual division of labor, women found themselves toiling for long hours each day in taking care of the domestic work as well as attending to the individual needs of their family members. The same continues to be recurring even though educational institutions are gradually opening up and many schools and colleges have started classes in the ‘hybrid mode’.
Furthermore, being the primary caregivers in most families, it is the women who have continued to indulge in Looking after providing emotional comfort and, friendship, conveying empathy to the children, spouses, elderly (with or without co-morbidities) and other family members stuck at home. Thus, the heightened demand for caregiving has actually excavated the already existing inequalities in the gender division of labor. It may be noted that these responsibilities can take a toll and become more difficult during certain phases of women’s lives including pregnancy, post-partum, perimenopause/menopause, menstruation, etc. Unpaid care work requires a lot of physical, mental, and emotional effort. It is also costly in terms of time utilization, and if outsourced to someone outside the family, it would involve financial payment for performing those chores. Already overburdened, when stretched, these are bound to be an overarching impact on the mental health of women and have psychological consequences.
- Work from Home and job losses
According to the policy brief by ILO (2021), globally, women have been disproportionately hit in terms of job losses: 4.2% of women’s employment was destroyed as a result of the pandemic compared to 3% of men’s employment. In the context of urban locales, more than ever before, Work From Home (WFH) became a buzzword during the pandemic. For women in paid employment, the drudgery of unpaid work becomes higher as they work longer than men owing to the triple burdens of unpaid work, reproductive work, and paid employment (Chauhan, 2020). This becomes particularly intricate and pressurizing particularly for women with small children, or the school-going ones who are now having online classes and have their own emotional pressures and psychosocial concerns. It also affects women who are engaged in elderly care.
While both partners are trying to juggle WFH, issues related to looking after the kids, and attending to their needs with respect to having timely meals, feeding, bathing, homework, and sleeping schedules become a major source of concern. Thus, most women working from home, found spreading themselves thin while bearing the responsibilities of the household, while expected to efficiently handle their professional responsibilities.
Furthermore, the pressure to survive, to keep the job going, and to get a salary at the end of each month has been very important because of heavy retrenchment across all sectors. One in four women considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely because of the impact of COVID-19 (World Economic Forum, 2020). The pandemic has also seen many people being laid off. According to a report released by McKinsey and Company (2020), women have lost twice as many jobs as men during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, WFH also took a psychological toll on women. The time women got away from the house, the physical, psychological, and intellectual space they got away from the house vanished. While the school teachers (usually females) are toiling towards online classes during the day, they are slogging to look after the administrative and Co-Curricular activities of the school- preparing e-newsletters, online debates, creative competitions- Intra and inter-liaison school work, examination work-paper setting, evaluation in addition to attending the frequent online staff meetings at odd hours.
Women in leadership/ administrative positions are also stressed out as they have to work from home without assistance from any support staff with piles and piles of reports to be prepared and compiled every day, Monday to Sunday, 24*7 with all the deadlines having stringent timeframe. Women in the Corporate sector have been constantly busy with their Online Meetings that are scattered from 9 AM and went way beyond 11 PM. Since everyone ‘worked from home’, time was said to be Flexi which in reality, has been highly inflexible and torturous for women who treaded on thin lines with many on the verge of mental break-up.
The psychological consequence of WFH has been visible in the form of personal and professional lives becoming deeply enmeshed and entangled. Work-from-home culture also took away the freedom, sense of empowerment, and the Me-Time for most women. With the novel coronavirus having completed two years, its toll on mental health has been distinctly visible. While the workplace can be a huge positive reinforcement for one’s intellect, independent identity, and economic self-sufficiency, when un-balanced, intruding and encroaching in one’s personal space, especially when children are involved, there has been an increase in what has been called as the “mom guilt” – this is the guilt that mothers feel for being inadequate or having to divide their time between child-rearing and other commitments. This has deeper mental health consequences and often impacts parent-child and also familial relationships. All these negatively impact the mental health of women even further.
- Violence against women and girls
UN Women report (2020) stated that violence against women and girls is likely to be “the lasting legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Even before the pandemic, it was estimated that one in three women experienced violence during their lifetimes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global increase ie violence against women and girls as it coincided with economic and social stresses and measures to restrict contact and movement of people. Crowded homes, substance abuse, limited access to services, and reduced peer support further exacerbated these conditions. Many women were trapped in their homes with their abusers (United Nations, 2020).
Violence against women, as a human rights violation, has severe and long-term impacts on victims or survivors, their families, and communities. Confined living conditions and tensions generated by the concerns related to security, health, and, finances plus the pent-up emotions and energies led to massive reporting amidst the hugely underreported or unreported incidents during the pandemic. Violent partners used confinement to further exercise power and control.
At the same time, women have less income, fewer opportunities for social contact, and limited access to services and community support, all of which give them fewer exit options. With more people staying at home, families spend more time in close contact, including in cramped conditions, disruption of livelihoods, reduced or no access to basic needs and services, and no opportunity for channelizing the energy or sharing the frustrations or catharsis; led to an increase in varied forms of violence- verbal, physical, emotional, intellectual, financial, social. Newspapers during the Lockdown reported about cases of pregnant women who were beaten to death (The Times of India dated 25 September 2020) or news like a wife beating her husband in an online Ludo game which actually led to wife battery and her consequent death (The Hindustan Times, 28 April 2020).
Family members may use deliberate and neglectful tactics to exert power, including continuously finding fault with them, belittling their effort, refusing access to jointly owned money, and threatening to cause harm. Lack of or the loss of financial independence keeps women bound to relationships. In addition, there is limited and restricted movement due to COVID-19, inadequate decision-making capacity, and lowered social bargaining power and these threaten their safety and autonomy at home.
In addition to the intimate partner violence, there were reports about incidents of rape at the Quarantine Centres (The Hindu dated 18th July 2020) and hospitals which again shows the vulnerability of women and their objectification even when they were Covid Positive. Such incidents impact the dignity, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem of women and have far-reaching consequences on women’s mental health.
- Women in the informal economy
“Covid-19 has pummelled feminized labor sections” (UN Women, 2020). With nearly 70% of women working in the informal economy (ILO, 2018) across the globe, they earned less, saved less, held less secure jobs, had less access to social protections, and were the majority of single-parent households. Their capacity to absorb economic shocks has been therefore less than that of men (United Nations, 2020). Many of them in the Indian context, worked in the fields as farmers, or have been engaged in home-based works like bindi/ choori making / embroidery/ tying and dying of clothes/ garment making. Many also worked as construction workers, and domestic helpers ran petty businesses or even worked as vendors.
The pandemic led to their sudden unemployment and in many cases reverse migration also took place. With no livelihood or basic social security measures, their future has turned bleak even now when the Indian economy has opened up. It is also observed that it is more men than women have returned to work even in the informal sector. With the closure of schools and uncertainty looming large, many women are at home and engaged in looking after their children and families. With plummeting economic activity, women have been particularly vulnerable to layoffs and loss of livelihoods. Furthermore, the incomes of women working in the informal sector have also declined dramatically (UN Women, 2020).
- Reproductive and Child Health risks of Covid-19
Another very pertinent and extremely significant COVID-19 impact is the risks and dangers it has posed to women and girls with respect to their reproductive health. According to United Nations (2020):
“Women and girls have unique health needs, but they are less likely to have access to quality health services, essential medicines, and vaccines, maternal and reproductive health care, or insurance coverage for routine and catastrophic health costs, especially in rural and marginalized communities”
Due to the prevalent culture of silence, women have never been at the forefront of receiving the RCH and RSH services. The pandemic led to the health system diverting resources from general health to Covid Care. For example, in the National Capital of Delhi, 80% of the ICU beds in hospitals were reserved as ‘Corona beds’ during the surge in cases. With the major health facilities converted to Covid Care Facilities (totally or partially), the health of women generally has been adversely impacted through the reallocation of resources and priorities, including sexual and reproductive health services. These have led to gross neglect in meeting the RCH/ RSH needs of women that may result in exacerbated maternal mortality and morbidity, increased rates of unwanted pregnancies, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly impacted the needs of pregnant women (Ante Natal Women, women needing safe deliveries) and those needing Post-natal care. Their rights regarding availing family planning services, gynaecological check-ups, safe abortions, menstrual health supplies like sanitary napkins, clean clothes, and tampons, and maternal health care services like immunizations for children have been severely impacted, particularly during the lockdowns. All these Sexual and Reproductive and Child health services were sadly overlooked in the Corona crisis due to the reallocation of staff and resources that were geared towards these essential and critical care services for women.
Thus, it was no surprise when the newspapers reported regarding women delivering children on roads, in Shramik trains, and also about neonatal deaths. Even now when general OPDs in hospitals have gradually opened up, ASHA workers getting back to the work, and women are scared, shy, and embarrassed to go to avail RCH/ RSH facilities. There is still fear of contracting infection, which further perpetuates isolation, violence, feelings of shame, and lowered self-worth and therefore heightening the risks to women’s mental health and overall well-being.
- Impact on the education of girls
Plan International in its report “Living Under Lockdown” (2020) analyzed the impact of how the COVID-19 pandemic on girls around the world, and also examined past crises to understand the current risks. With schools shut down around the world to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, girls are missing out on learning opportunities and are more likely to experience violence and abuse at home, unplanned pregnancies, child marriage, and economic hardship. At the end of March 2020, around 743 million girls were out of school and many girls may never return to class, the report said.
Recent data shows that adolescent girls spend significantly more hours on chores compared to their male counterparts (UNICEF, Plan International, and UN Women, 2020). School closures do not just mean that girls are taking on more chores at home, it could also lead to millions more girls dropping out of school before they complete their education, especially girls living in poverty, girls with disabilities, or living in rural, isolated locations.
- Women under Difficult Circumstances
The pandemic also has negatively impacted various other categories of women who in many ways are more vulnerable and reeling under difficult circumstances. These include women who are single parents, those heading their households, trafficked women, sex workers, women living in institutional facilities, women with disabilities, women with chronic mental illnesses, elderly women, etc.
Mental health consequences of COVID-19 on women
During the pandemic, women have continued to provide essential work in the health and social work sector as well as in other essential occupations, often putting their own lives at risk and facing a double burden: longer shifts at work and additional care work at home (ILO, 2021). Furthermore, unpaid care work, enhanced domestic responsibilities, WFH, Layoffs for women, Violence against women and girls, and other challenges have major mental health consequences for women.
While gender-disaggregated data emanating from research is awaited from most countries, pandemics, including COVID-19, have been shown to have major effects on mental health resulting in anxiety, depression, and high-stress levels (Wang et al., 2020). Physical distancing and stay-at-home orders have had larger implications for women in every sphere of their lives. According to a report by the Guardian Weekly, 6 out of 10 women said they were finding it hard to stay positive day-to-day, compared with just under half of men. Half of the women shared that they were very concerned about the risk the virus posed to the country, compared with a third of men. It was also found that women were more likely than men to have helped others during the pandemic.
Nanjundaswamy et al. (2020) reported concerns and anxieties about the impact of COVID-19 infection on pregnancy and the unborn child among pregnant mothers who indeed are a vulnerable section of the population during the pandemic. With anxiety topping the minds of pregnant women and young mothers, the epidemic is changing the already particular practices of perinatal psychiatry with newer forms of multidisciplinary support being imagined and created (Gressier et al., 2020).
For those already coping with these concerns, experience worsening of their own mental health with symptoms that may include negative self-perception, persistently feeling low/ anxious/feelings of emptiness or hollowness, erratic moods, inability to experience pleasure, difficulty with attention/memory, changes in appetite and sleep, fatigue, bodily pains and thoughts of self-harm and even suicide.
Women trapped in an escalating cycle of tension, power, and control, and they are very vulnerable to experiencing varied mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and trauma. Stigma and lack of access to social support during the pandemic can aggravate or lead to the internalization of abuse. They may direct their anger, humiliation, and fear toward themselves or those who are dependent which will in turn give guilt and further aggravate their feelings of worthlessness and helplessness. This may also result in trauma bonding. If a woman experiences abuse from a partner who also expresses love, they learn to associate love with abuse. They often rationalize, justify or minimize the abuse and are less likely to report it. The issues become more intricate for women with pre-existing mental health conditions.
After assessing the broad impact and challenges of COVID-19 on women, presented below are strategies to deal with the gender-based challenges in the post-Covid scenario:
Gender inclusive strategies for closing gender gaps in the post-pandemic world
- Need for gendered disaggregated data and continued monitoring
The first and foremost step to close the gender gaps in the post-COVID-19 world would be to include women’s perspectives in pandemic planning and decision-making. There is a critical need for the gendered disaggregated data for each and every domain viz. number of infections, recoveries, deaths, school dropouts, and layoffs across the medical, social, and economic sectors. It is crucial to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls for effective planning and implementation of effective policy measures.
There is also a need to study the impact of the pandemic on women and have a gender perspective in terms of undertaking quantitative as well as qualitative research with the inclusion and participation of grassroots women. A study of women across all sectors is required e.g., the impact of Covid-19 on female students, teachers, homemakers, women in higher leadership, women in the informal as well as the economy, etc. In addition, the inclusion of men and trans persons too is needed to gain a holistic view from a gendered lens.
Thus, continued monitoring of the pandemic’s differentiated impacts on women and men can enable determining additional measures needed for the inclusion of women in the post-pandemic gender-specific strategies. Investing in good data governance and infrastructure can improve access to timely and disaggregated data, including sex- and/or gender-disaggregated data, as well as other identifying factors, and enable governments to tap into innovative sources of data to support more gender-inclusive policy responses (OECD, 2021).
- Integrating gender equality into recovery strategies
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres thrusted on “putting the women and girls at the center of efforts that begin with women as leaders, with equal representation and decision-making power. He also states that Covid-19 could reverse the limited but important progress made on gender equality and women’s rights”. The United Nations (2020) has stressed on the
- Inclusion of women and women’s organizations at the heart of the COVID-19 response
- Transforming the inequities of unpaid care work into a new, inclusive care economy that works for everyone
- Designing socio-economic plans with an intentional focus on the lives and futures of women and girls.
Keeping women at the center stage of the post-pandemic recovery planning and execution, governments must consider taking their own approaches to incorporate gender equality considerations into their strategies e.g., gender budgeting can be used to acquire information on how policy measures in the post-pandemic world can contribute towards gender equality goals, to be provided alongside proposals for fiscal recovery packages (OECD, 2021).
- Gender-responsive budgeting for an Inclusive Job-Rich Recovery
Efforts should be directed towards putting in place gender-responsive strategies aiming at full, productive, and freely chosen employment and decent work for all, with a focus on the needs of the most vulnerable and hardest hit by the pandemic. An equitable and job-rich recovery, non-discriminatory labor markets, and care-inclusive economies are the only pathway to build resilience to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic (ILO, 2021). Gender-responsive budgeting is a strategic approach to operationalizing and monitoring gender-responsive COVID-19 policies. It provides a framework with specific tools to be applied at each stage of the public finance management cycle for planning, budgeting, executing, and evaluating budget performance from a gender perspective (IMF 2021).
- Designing effective policy responses
In addition to developing Gender Responsive Budgeting, Ex ante Gender Impact Assessments (GIA) can improve the formulation and prioritization of policies by identifying intended and unintended effects on gender equality. Ex-ante GIA is the estimation of the different impacts (positive, negative, or neutral) of a policy proposal on gender equality. They can be conducted on policies that are specifically aimed at tackling gender gaps but can also highlight unintended bias in non-gender specific programs or policies, for instance during episodes of fiscal consolidation (IMF, 2021).
- Supporting and Strengthening Women in the Informal Economy
There is a need to set up a task force of expert professionals involving members from the grassroots level e.g., trade union and cooperative representatives, members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations, PRI members, NGOs, researchers and academics, and of course, government representatives from the states and the center. There is a need to prepare and analyze Pre-Corona, During-Corona, and Post-Corona data from a gender lens with regard to compiling the learning insights gained from the pandemic, and deliberating on decentralized and simple implementation mechanisms. There is an urgent need to work out and expand inclusive social protection for women in the informal economy in order to enable them and support them to revive their livelihoods.
- Enabling women’s participation in the labor force
There is a need to enable women’s participation in the labor force through flexible work arrangements that support diverse workforces including formal as well as informal work spheres. Social safety nets, specifically in the provision of childcare support, should be enhanced to enable women to come back/ retain their employment.
- Closing the gender digital divide
There is a stringent need to make women digitally more literate and enhancement of technical skills among women. More than ever before, technology is going to be at the core of our “new normal” and bridging the digital gap to increase the chances of girls and women accessing education and jobs. This requires the engagement of the government along with partnering NGOs with thrust on the involvement of women.
As the economy has opened, creating accessible information portals on job availability would help both men and women match with potential employers, in urban as well as rural areas. Those most digitally agile have been able to cope with the crisis better, and the use of digital technologies has been essential to democratic participation; access to public services and public transfers; employment opportunities; access to health; finance; social capital and networks; and even preventing or escaping from gender-based violence. Closing the gender digital divide can then contribute to maintaining livelihoods, ensuring economic safety nets, and even saving lives (IMF, 2021).
- Dealing with Violence against women
Dealing with the problem of gender-based violence (GBV) would indeed be a long-drawn process. In the short term, there is a need to strengthen and support peer-support groups for survivors of violence in order to help women recover from the trauma of abuse, direct or vicarious. Also, it is imperative to bring men into the conversation because the involvement of men is very crucial e.g., having an enhanced focus on positive masculinities, sharing household responsibilities, and supporting women. UN’s document on the ‘Decision Tree’ with the usage of existing data, recording of VAW in the Pre/ During and Post Covid times, mapping of services for women affected by violence, and actionable pointers is an excellent step towards the same.
- Provision of health services
Health systems need to be prepared for providing essential support to survivors of gender-based violence, rehauling sexual and reproductive healthcare services, and legal aid. With the help of the grassroots functionaries, there is a need to intensify these efforts and reallocate resources towards RCH and RSH services for women. Awareness campaigns are needed for the identification of women with special needs e.g., expectant mothers, those requiring PNC, safe deliveries, specific health conditions, mental health needs, etc.
- Developing a culture of Shared Care
In the context of unburdening women, there needs to be a Re-orientation of the domestic space with efforts towards unlearning the gendered hierarchies of labor owing to gender socialization and social conditioning. Sharing of caregiving roles along with the domestic work and emotional labor between partners as well as children (if possible) can be deliberated among the family members. This requires the involvement of families, communities as well as schools to challenge the age-old gender-based stereotypes and practices.
- Digital Help for Mental Well-Being
During the pandemic, online and ICT-facilitated services or digital services for help and support have increased e.g., Tele psychiatry being run by NIMHANS, NGOs. Again, gender perspective has to be brought in. The gendered perspective towards helping women to access and avail such services at their grassroots for enhancing their mental health is significant.
While the world continues to grapple with the disruptive reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to analyze in-depth its impact on women and girls. Gender-sensitive and inclusive strategies will be needed to battle the aftermath of the pandemic with the active engagement of multiple stakeholders. The gender-responsive country as well as state policies are being demanded by feminists. These entail focusing on a gendered analysis of caregiving work, reducing self-deprivation among women, combating and preventing gender-based violence, bridging the gender gap in digital literacy, reducing unemployment, social protection for women farmers, regulation of microfinance institutions (MFIs) to make them gender-friendly, and action against predatory MFI activities, enhancing women’s resilience in response to climate change as significant actionable goals (Patel, 2022).
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