The response to coronavirus is a reminder of the essential contribution of women at levels, including as frontline responders, healthcare professional and community volunteers. But, it has also made clear some of the many inequalities women and girls around the world face.
Women make up 70 per cent of worker in the health and social sectors, while also doing three times as much unpaid work as men. They are hit harder by the economic impacts due to the disproportionate amount of women working in insecure labour and we see a greater burden of care placed on women as schools close and health systems become overloaded.
We also know that levels of domestic violence and sexual exploitation increase when households are placed under increased strains that come from security, health and financial worries.
UN Women is working to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on women and girls by focusing on five key priority areas:
- Gender-based violence, including domestic violence: UN Women is focusing efforts on prevention and awareness raising, while also providing access to essential support services such as women’s shelters, healthcare clinics and counselling services.
- Social protection and stimulus packages: UN Women continues to support women-owned enterprises all around the world while also offering virtual learning courses to enable women to apply for and access government stimulus funding.
- Equal sharing of care work: Changing social norms to support equal distribution of care responsibilities is urgent. UN Women runs multiple awareness campaigns designed to inspire and encourage men and boys to balance the burden of care by share domestic and childcare work with women in their households.
- Women and girls’ leadership and participation: UN Women convenes with leaders and decision-makers to advocate for the importance of women’s leadership, while also actively supporting women’s organisations on the frontlines of the COVID19 response.
- Data and coordination mechanisms: UN Women is providing direct technical support to governments and UN partners around the world to ensure national response strategies meet the needs of women and girls.
To read more about UN Women’s COVID-19 response, click here.