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Sociol Ruralis ; 2022 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2253221

ABSTRACT

Agriculture is one of the most precarious professions, being vulnerable to weather extremes and animal disease. As crises hit the agricultural sector, a growing awareness and concern for the mental wellbeing of farmers developed. Economic decline, climate change and culling animals all have a profound impact on affected farmers. To date, research has tended to focus on the farmer, typically a man, and not the farm family. This article considers the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on men and women on farms. Using qualitative interviews and focus groups, the impact of the pandemic on men's and women's work and social life within the family is explored. We found a differential impact. For farmers, usually men, COVID-19 was generally a positive experience both in terms of work and social life. For women, on the other hand, COVID-19 was found to have a negative impact on their work and social life. While gender equality in agriculture persists, women's equality in the workplace has advanced. However, with the pandemic, women worked from home on the farm. They experienced a regression in gender equality with traditional expectations of responsibility for childcare and housework returning. In addition, their emotional and 'mental' labour increased. We conclude that in the future, the mental health of men and women on farms needs to be considered when crises occur. Crises impact the farm family and different members of the family in dissimilar ways.

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