In Focus: Gender equality matters in COVID-19 response

Photo: UN Women/Ruhani Kaur
Since COVID-19 started, women gather in fewer numbers at the SEWA (Self-employed Women’s Association) Centre in New Delhi where they get guidance and training on making garments. Photo: UN Women/Ruhani Kaur

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The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health issue. It is a profound shock to our societies and economies, and women are at the heart of care and response efforts underway.

As frontline responders, health professionals, community volunteers, transport and logistics managers, scientists and more, women are making critical contributions to address the outbreak every day.

The majority of caregivers, at home and in our communities, are also women.

Additionally, they are at increased risk of infection and loss of livelihood, and existing trends point to less access to sexual and reproductive health and rise in domestic violence during crisis.

UN Women is bringing up-to-date information and analysis on how and why gender matters in COVID-19 response.


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A new wave of COVID-19 cases has severely strained health systems and communities across South Asia. Women play indispensable roles in the response but also face dire consequences. They have lost more jobs than men, struggle with care work burdens, and confront increased gender-based violence.

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UN Women responds to COVID-19 in South Asia

In April, COVID-19 cases began skyrocketing in South Asia, severely straining health systems. While caseloads have finally begun to slow, the sheer number of people falling ill has left hospitals running out of beds, oxygen and medication, even as vaccine shortages persist.

The health, social and economic impacts are expected to be long-lasting, particularly for already vulnerable groups, including many women as well as children and youth, persons with disabilities, socially excluded people, and others. With fewer options to manage the crisis, they may be forced to adopt negative strategies to cope with risks and pressures.

UN Women and its partners are providing critical support to women and their families to survive the pandemic, sustaining services, extending supplies and information, and advocating for gender-responsive strategies to respond to the crisis and recover in the aftermath.

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Recent events on COVID-19 and gender equality

UN Women is working to keep women’s needs and voices at the centre of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts by organizing and participating in virtual conversations and events. Read more ►



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