On 9 April 2020, the United Nations (UN) published a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on women. As noted in the policy brief, “[a]cross every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex”.
The policy brief recommends the following three cross-cutting priorities to address the challenges being experienced:
- Ensure women’s equal representation in all COVID-19 response planning and decision-making. In this regard, the policy brief notes that evidence across sectors demonstrates that policies that do not consult women or include them in decision-making are less effective, and can do more harm. It goes on to recommend that beyond individual women, women’s organisations who are on the front line of community responses should also be represented and supported.
- Drive transformative change for equality by addressing the care economy, paid and unpaid. The policy brief notes that care jobs in the formal sector – such as teachers and nurses – are underpaid in relation to other sectors. Furthermore, in the home, women perform the bulk of care work, which is typically unpaid. The policy brief indicates that these roles “are foundational to daily life and the economy but are premised on and entrench gendered norms and inequalities”.
- Target women and girls in all efforts to address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. The policy brief recommends that it will be important to apply an intentional gender lens to the design of fiscal stimulus packages and social assistance programmes to achieve greater equality, opportunities and social protection.
The policy brief concludes that: “Putting women and girls at the centre of economies will fundamentally drive better and more sustainable development outcomes for all, support a more rapid recovery, and place us back on a footing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The policy brief is accessible here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest, and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].