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Article

Report voices concern that gendered impacts of & responses to COVID-19 are being neglected

“COVID-19: A feminist response to a global pandemic”, June 2020

While women and women’s rights organisations (WROs) have continued to be frontline responders during [the COVID-19] pandemic, they have also been disproportionately impacted by its effects – within the household [and] in the public sphere. [The Gender and Development Network (GADN)]…seeks to highlight the gendered nature of the global pandemic and the central role of women and WROs in the response. [This briefing] addresses the role of women and WROs as frontline responders, violence against women and girls, sexual and reproductive health and rights, security measures, economic livelihoods, unpaid and underpaid care, and the differentiated impacts on older women and women with disabilities.

As governments and organisations develop responses to the pandemic, many feminists are concerned that the gendered nature of both the impact and response is not being recognised. Existing inequalities in power and resources are exacerbated by the pandemic and shape its impact. The [GADN]…therefore argues that three things must shape the response:

  • A recognition that women and WROs are frontline responders bearing much of the weight of managing the crisis, and that their voices and priorities must be clearly heard moving forward;
  • An understanding that the effect of the pandemic is shaped by deeply entrenched gender norms and structures which determine both the impact of the crisis, and the efficacy of solutions;
  • A commitment to ensure that the livelihoods and lives of the most marginalised in society are prioritised in both short term and long-term responses if we are to ‘build back better’.