Recognizing Women’s Important Contribution in the COVID-19 Pandemic through Comic and Illustration


[Press release]

Jakarta, Indonesia – UN Women, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (MOWECP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the winners of “Perempuan dan COVID-19” Comic and Illustration Competition. The competition, supported by the Government of Japan, highlights the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of women and girls in Indonesia. In total, 372 artworks were received from across the country, each portraying the participants understanding of how women’s lives have been impacted during the pandemic and how women are playing a central role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping their families and communities safe and resilient.

“The inspiration behind my drawing ‘Women Head of the Household’ is my mom who is a single parent, taking the role as a mother and the head of family,” said Lidya Permata Sari, a fresh university graduate and the winner among the 15-24 years category. “Women’s important roles at home and in the communities is a topic that is important to me. As a female illustrator, visualizing the reality faced by women is a way to support them as they are playing a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The pandemic situation and school closures have increased an already high burden of care and domestic work for women. These are impacting women’s physical and mental health. Equal share of domestic and care work is especially important during this time,” said Rahmawati Yayu Ningsih, a freelance illustrator and the winner in the category 25 years old and above.

The pandemic has deepened pre-existing gender inequalities and has disproportionately affected women and girls. Women are losing livelihoods because they are overrepresented in sectors and jobs hardest hit by COVID-19. A recent report by UN Women shows that women’s mental health has suffered a larger setback: 57% of women noting increases in stress and anxiety, compared to 48% of men. Increased unpaid care and domestic workloads, anxiety over income loss, and the impacts of movement restrictions on gender-based violence, are all contributing factors.

The Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Bintang Puspayoga, expressed her highest appreciation to the winners of the “Perempuan dan COVID-19” comic and illustration competition. Minister Bintang hopes that people can reflect on lesson learned during COVID-19 pandemic and reminds everyone to always washing their hands, wearing masks, and maintaining physical distance to get through this pandemic.

"I am happy to see the results of this competition which aims to increase awareness on COVID-19 that affects women, children, and communities throughout Indonesia. I would like to congratulate all the winners and to keep doing your best in achieving a lot of things and improving your creativity in arts or other fields. I would like to also thank the organizers for their hard work and very good collaboration in organizing this competition. It is our wish that this collaboration can continue further in the future, under different themes, especially in ensuring the protection of women and children. When women are empowered, children are protected, Indonesia will grow and develop." said Minister Bintang.

“The power of illustration. It can be sometimes much stronger than the power of words. As communication and awareness raising are one of the keys to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, comic and illustration can serve as strong tools,” said Tamura Masami, Minister, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Indonesia.

“I am very pleased to see so many great artworks and exceptional talent. Reviewing all the comic and illustrations gave us a glimpse of how women’s lives in Indonesia have changed during the pandemic, the challenges they faced, and the important contribution they continue to make in preventing the spread of COVID-19. It is heartening to see that some of the illustrations also captures the positive gender and social norm changes to promote a more equitable sharing of care and domestic work,” said Valerie Julliand, UN Resident Coordinator. “My appreciation on the collaboration of UN Women, WHO, and the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection in finding creative ways to spark a meaningful conversation on gender equality and COVID-19.”

The “Perempuan dan COVID-19” Comic and Illustration Competition was launched in October 2020. The competition was open to Indonesian nationals aged 15-24 years for Category I and aged 25 year and above for Category II. Participants were invited to create and submit original comic or illustration reflecting the theme of women and COVID-19, which includes women’s leadership and contributions to the COVID-19 response; positive gender and social norm change to promote equal sharing of care and domestic works; and/or women’s situation during COVID-19 and the changes that the participants wish like to see. The deadline for submission was on 28 November 2020 and the winners have been announced in a virtual award ceremony.

“Women and COVID-19” Comic and Illustration Competition


Media contact:

Radhiska Anggiana
Advocacy and Communication Officer, UN Women 
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Communication Team, WHO

About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women’s rights worldwide. UN Women’s efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.

About WHO
The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing. #HealthforAll