Press release: The Government of Japan funds UN Women programmes to address the challenges of women and girls during COVID-19

With generous support from the Government of Japan, UN Women will implement its programmes aimed at supporting women and girls facing challenges in the midst of COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Europe and Central Asia.


[Press release]

The Government of Japan has contributed US$4,545,454 to UN Women programmes to protect the lives and dignity of women and girls, as well as address the challenges they face by COVID -19.

Women are disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19, as more women work in low-paying, insecure and informal jobs, while carrying the bulk of burden on unpaid care work at home. As more countries report infections and lockdown measures, domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world are increasingly reporting calls for help. Confinement at home is fostering the tension and strain created by security, health and money worries. In addition, this increased isolation for women with violent partners creates a perfect storm for controlling and violent behavior to happen behind closed doors.

“The Government of Japan, which is committed to creating ‘a society in which all women shine,’ has been an important long-standing partner for UN Women,” said Kae Ishikawa, Director of UN Women Japan Liaison Office. “The Government of Japan has contributed to a number of UN Women programmes and activities around the world to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

“The concept of ‘human security,’ which Japan promotes as one of the critical pillars of its foreign policy, is perfectly in line with the objectives of the UN Women programmes, which aim to protect women and girls affected by the impact of COVID-19 as well as build a resilient society where women play a critical role in decision-making,” Ishikawa said. “UN Women would also like to acknowledge and thank Japan for being the first donor to announce its financial contribution to UN Women’s initiatives on COVID-19.” 

Japan has been a key partner of UN Women since its establishment. The partnership between UN Women and Japan covers many areas, such as programme implementations in developing countries, conducting policy dialogues, and collaboration around key international conferences on gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women and Japan will continue to strengthen their partnership to generate change in the lives of women and their communities.

Programme overview

Previous experiences show that disease outbreaks and subsequent crises affect women and men differently. Thus, it is critical to have a gender-responsive approach in creating effective and equitable preventative plans and long-term response interventions for COVID-19. 

In this context, with generous support from the Government of Japan, UN Women will implement prevention and response programmes to COVID-19 in 4 regions, with particular focus on following thematic areas:

  • Development of research or knowledge products on gender and COVID-19, and provision of technical support on gender analysis. 
  • Evidence-based advocacy and campaigning to inform prevention, mitigation and response policies and plans.
  • Promotion of protection mechanisms throughout the COVID-19 response, with a focus on access to gender-based violence (GBV) and other relevant services.
  • Promotion of women’s access to emergency support through cash transfers and livelihood opportunities.
  • Promotion of leadership roles and participation of women in the response and recovery of COVID-19.

Planned duration of the programmes: from June 2020 to May 2021

Programme budget: Grand total US$4,545,454 (US$1,818,181 for Asia and the Pacific region, US$909,091 for Arab States region, US$909,091 for Eastern and Southern Africa region and US$909,091 for Europe and Central Asia region)


For inquiries on this release, please contact:

  • Mike Drach, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,