Policy analysis

Why gender equality must be at the forefront of COVID-19 recovery plans

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women and girls. From threatening girls’ education and taking a toll on women’s work, to impacting maternal and reproductive care, the effects of the pandemic have more severely impacted women compared to their male counterparts. Thankfully, the world has an opportunity to change that.

At the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering in Paris on 1-2 July focused on advancing gender equality, leaders will be presented with an opportunity to ensure that gender equality is at the forefront of COVID-19 recovery plans.

But before that can happen, it’s important to understand just how much the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women and girls. Here’s a look at how.

A look at the impacts

Although the COVID-19 virus has killed more men, it has had lingering effects on women, including:

  • The pandemic has exacerbated the global learning crisis, with data estimating that an additional 11 million girls may never return to the classroom as a result of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has severely impacted women’s livelihoods, as women are more likely to work in hard-hit economic sectors such as hospitality compared to men. In fact, UN Women estimated that compared to male employment, female employment is 19% more at risk.
  • The pandemic has hindered access to crucial resources in women’s health and could result in an additional 56,700 maternal deaths.
  • There has also been a rise in gender-based violence (GBV). With more women and girls being home due to COVID-related closures and impacts, they are at greater risk of experiencing GBV. Already during COVID-19, helpline calls have had a five-fold increase in some countries as rates of reported intimate partner violence have increased. Now, the world is at risk of a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence.

Including gender equality in COVID-19 recovery plans

The upcoming Generation Equality Forum is an opportunity to turn the tide. Ensuring that the issues facing women and girls, particularly as a result of COVID-19, are included in pandemic recovery plans is crucial to addressing the current issues at hand and changing the world for the better.

That’s why as leaders gather for the Generation Equality Forum, we’ll be tracking this agenda-setting event and using our voices to help translate verbal commitments into funding and actual action that puts gender equality at the heart of post-pandemic agendas.

Learn more and register for the Generation Equality Forum now.

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