As the number of global cases of COVID-19 rise by the day, the lives of women are directly and increasingly impacted. At the outset of the pandemic, UN Women engaged in a series of intiatives with a call to action by Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for a global response that takes gender perspectives into account, including through sex-disaggregated data and social protection for women.
On 6 April 2020, the Executive Director described the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women and girls that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong support from the Secretary-General came on 9 April 2020 through his policy brief, “The impact of COVID-19 on women”, prepared in cooperation with UN Women.
UN Women and its partners issued a series of policy briefs on areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: economic fallout, the care economy, violence against women and girls, women’s leadership, and humanitarian response.
UN Women next undertook rapid gender assessment surveys with national and United Nations partners on the impacts of COVID-19 in countries across the world. The results confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic was exacerbating pre-existing gender inequalities and deepening gender-based discrimination and vulnerability. A COVID-19 and gender monitor on the UN Women data hub, and, with the United Nations Development Programme, a COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker were established, and fact sheets with country examples, best practices, and gaps in the COVID-19 policy response were produced.
A global programme, which informs this report, provides a framework for the UN Women response from the global to local levels: Gender-Responsive Prevention and Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic: from Emergency Response to Recovery and Resilience.