Majority of countries worldwide have no measures in place to protect women during COVID crisis: UN Women and UNDP

On September 28, United Nations Women and United Nations Environment Program released data from the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker which stated that most of the world’s nations are not doing enough to protect women and girls from the economic and social fallout being caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The tracker, which includes over 2,500 measures across 206 countries and territories, specifically analyses government measures with a gender lens in three areas: those that tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG), support unpaid care, and strengthen women’s economic security. 

The results signal that 42 countries, one fifth (20 per cent) of those analysed, have no gender-sensitive measures in response to COVID-19 at all. Only 25 countries, 12 per cent of the world, have introduced measures that cover all three areas. These may include the provision of helplines, shelters, or judicial responses to counter the surge in violence against women and girls during the pandemic, cash transfers directly targeted at women, the provision of childcare services or paid family and sick leave. 

“The COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity for countries to transform existing economic models towards a renewed social contract that prioritizes social justice and gender equality. This new gender response tracker can help accelerate policy reform by guiding on gaps in national efforts and funding and highlighting best practices,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. 

“It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting women hard – as victims of domestic violence locked down with their abusers, as unpaid caregivers in families and communities, and as workers in jobs that lack social protection. The Global Tracker supports governments in making the right policy decisions by sharing good practices and monitoring progress in care policies and measures to address violence against women”, said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. 

The COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker monitors policy measures enacted by governments worldwide to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, and highlights responses that have integrated a gender lens. It includes national measures that are directly addressing women’s economic and social security, including unpaid care work, the labour market and violence against women.

The tracker is coordinated by UNDP with substantive leadership and technical contributions from UN Women. It is co-created by both entities and based on publicly available information, including media coverage, official documents, and other COVID-19 policy trackers. In some cases, information on measures was provided by UNDP and UN Women country offices. It can provide guidance for policymakers and evidence for advocates to ensure a gender-sensitive COVID-19 policy response. 

Photo Credit : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phumzile_Mlambo-Ngcuka_(2016).jpg 

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