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These statistics set the tone for a series of conversations jointly hosted by UN Women and the French Embassy in Sri Lanka, in the broader context of COVID-19 and the parallel worsening of gender equality. In the course of the six discussions – each based on the thematic focus areas of the Generation Equality Forum – experts and activists repeatedly highlighted three underlying problems in relation to gender equality and women’s rights in Sri Lanka.
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In 2020, Bangladesh faced a double disaster Cyclone and COVID-19 in Khulna and Satkhira districts amongst the hardest hit. Thousands of families lost their livelihoods and incomes overnight. While the government provided direct assistance to those affected, many women and girls fell through the cracks. At the onset of the pandemic, UN Women expanded the group of NGOs that it worked with and created the Gender Monitoring Network (GMN), a network of 28 civil society organizations (CSOs) and women’s rights organizations. Organizations from the GMN supported UN Women in identifying vulnerable groups of women and girls, including transgender and sex workers, for unconditional cash assistance.