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Kelly Jones: The Intersection of Health and Agriculture through a Gender Lens


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A4NH and Gender Task Force seminar on Gender, Agriculture, and Health: Tracing the Links

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How can we take into account health in our agriculture, nutrition, and gender research? Health and nutrition are closely interrelated: health status influences nutritional outcomes, by mediating a person’s ability to utilize nutrients and lead a healthy life, and nutritional status influences health, by mediating a person’s vulnerability to various illnesses. Both health and nutrition are directly and indirectly affected by rural livelihood decisions related to agriculture, livestock, and water management. Livelihood decisions and duties are gendered, in that social identity influences an individual’s options and choices. Men and women’s exposure to health risks, capacity to provide health care, and access to health services often vary due to these differing roles and rights.

This seminar provides three case studies in how gender dynamics in rural livelihoods influence health, and in turn, nutrition. Intended as an introduction to topics in gender, health, and agriculture, the seminar will help researchers familiar with the agriculture-to-nutrition pathways begin to think about how health has bearings on this framework.

In the seminar, Kelly Jones will present on recent research that traces how livelihood shocks may increase HIV transmission through higher-risk sex, especially for women. Elizabeth Bryan will share early-stage research on the links between small-scale irrigation adoption, gender, and health and nutrition outcomes. Delia Grace will introduce a gender-sensitive participatory risk assessment framework for addressing food safety.

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Kelly Jones: The Intersection of Health and Agriculture through a Gender Lens

  1. 1. The Intersection of Health and Agriculture: THROUGH A GENDER LENS
  2. 2. Empowerment to Ensure Health • Access to health promotion, preventative & curative care, determined by • Access to / control over financial resources • Physical freedom • Personal worth • In agricultural societies: • Access to profits may be skewed toward men • Changes in market norms can change empowerment within household • Women face different challenges in generating agricultural profits • Yield risk may generate gender-specific health-hazardous coping behaviors
  3. 3. Gender impacts on Ag-Health Linkages
  4. 4. Gender impacts on Ag-Health Linkages Agriculture Impacts Health • Directly • Gender-specific allocation of agriculture tasks • Some tasks directly impact health • Indirectly • Agriculture is primary driver of ability to ensure health in agrarian society • Provides resources • Impacts resource control Total Resources Resource Control
  5. 5. Gender impacts on Ag-Health Linkages Health Impacts Agriculture • Directly • Poor health lowers physical ability • Gender differences in ability/willingness to rest when ill • Indirectly • Caregiving to ill/invalids reduces women’s ability to participate in production Total Resources Resource Control Caregiving
  6. 6. Case Study: Impact of Ag Shocks on HIV Concurrent partnerships are driving HIV (Epidemiology / Sociology theory) Many partnerships in SSA have financial implications Financial markets in SSA are incomplete Research Question: Does income variability in SSA increase HIV risk? Methods: • Proxy income shocks with droughts in rural Africa • Overlay HIV status of 200k+ individuals with 40 years of weather data • Create local-specific definition of low rainfall shock
  7. 7. Estimation 8,000 DHS clusters matched to 1,700 weather grid cells Monthly precipitation,1968-2008 𝑦𝑖𝑗𝑐 = 𝑍𝑗𝑐 + 𝑋𝑖 ′ 𝛽 + 𝛼 𝑐 + 𝜀𝑖𝑗𝑐 i=individual; j=grid cell; c=country 𝑦𝑖𝑗𝑐 : HIV+ status of individual i 𝑍𝑗𝑐 : # of shocks in 10yrs before survey errors clustered at grid cell level sampling weights employed Identifying assumption: conditional on local rainfall history, shocks are randomly assigned
  8. 8. Findings Each shock in past10 years increase HIV prevalence in rural village by 9.8% In high-prevalence countries, effect is 12.9% • For women effect is 14.5% • For men effect is 10.5% • Findings are robust to • Varying definition of shock, period of shock accumulation, region fixed effects • Future shock placebo test
  9. 9. Pathways No evidence that effect is driven by • Permanent migration (disproportionately of HIV- individuals) • Temporary migration • Girls school-leaving • Early marriage Some evidence that a contributing factor may be Transactional sex • Women’s effects concentrated among those working in agriculture • Men’s effects concentrated among those working outside agriculture
  10. 10. How important is this effect? End-of-decade prevalence as a function of accumulated shocks over the decade Shocks explain 15-20% of cross-country variation in each decade IMPLICATIONS: In societies where agriculture is the primary productive activity, its dynamics have significant implications for all facets of life, including health.
  11. 11. Future Work • How does agricultural contracting with women (instead of men) impact agricultural and household outcomes? • Health outcomes include: • Women’s access to health care • Children’s health status • Children’s preventative care • Use of family planning • In Uganda: sugarcane contracts with women • In Ghana: ag-input contracts and contracts for irrigated land rental