WHY WOMEN AND GIRLS SHOULD BE CENTRAL TO COVID19 RESPONSE MECHANISMS

Jessica Espinoza DEG

As DFI-led initiatives at the forefront of gender-lens investing, our #2XChallenge Working Group and the Gender Finance Collaborative are proud to work in partnership with private sector players to offer a collaborative and gender-sensitive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have just released a set of recommendations and call to action in order to ensure that gender dynamics are considered in the COVID-19 responses of DFIs and investors globally.

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting global health, economic and financial systems at remarkable speed. Emerging markets are expected to be especially hard hit by the pandemic and its aftermath.

Gender inequity and vulnerabilities are magnified during times of crises. Just as previous health crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to disproportionately affect women and girls. Our response to it must take these differences and gender dynamics into account.

Gendered Impacts of Covid-19

According to the WHO, women represent 70% of health and social workers worldwide. Women are overrepresented among workers at the frontlines of the crisis. Women and girls also shoulder the largest share of unpaid care work (more than three times as much as men), which is increasing as schools and nurseries are closed, and older relatives become ill.

Existing workforce structures resulting in occupational and sectoral segregation (the concentration of men and women in certain types of occupations and sectors) and gender pay gaps globally tell us the economic impacts of the crisis on businesses and global supply chains will also be gendered. Without mitigation, they are likely to have deep long-lasting effects on gender inequality.

Violence against women rises significantly in times of crisis. The current COVID-19 crisis and its movement restrictions have led to a dramatic increase in domestic violence around the world. In some parts of China the numbers have tripled.

Previous pandemics, like the Ebola crisis and the Zika outbreak had detrimental effects on women’s reproductive rights and maternal health due to both gendered power dynamics and a diversion of resources. We also know that girls staying home due to the crisis may not have the opportunity to return to school afterwards.

Yet despite ample evidence from current and previous crises, women are largely excluded from global COVID-19 decision-making, and current responses are mostly gender-blind.

Call to action 

As DFI-led initiatives at the forefront of gender-lens investing, our 2X Challenge Working Group and the Gender Finance Collaborative are proud to work in partnership with private sector players to offer a collaborative and gender-sensitive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our commitment and call to action to ensure that gender dynamics are considered in the COVID-19 responses of DFIs and investors globally.

I’m particularly excited that the Investment Officer Working Group, which I co-lead, will play a key role in developing business solutions with a gender lens as part of our joint rapid crisis response and longer-term solutions for recovery.

The integration of a gender lens by all private sector players to both immediate response and longer-term recovery solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic will be crucial in avoiding disproportionately negative impacts for women and girls. This will also increase resilience to future shocks by contributing to a more equitable and stable private sector.

It is now more important than ever to design gender-smart business solutions. I’ll be happy to offer pro bono advice to companies who want to develop proactive responses to the crisis with a gender lens. Just shoot me a message!

#WeCare #2XChallenge #COVID19 #SDGs #gendersmart 

Gender inequity and vulnerabilities are magnified during times of crises. The hashtag2XChallenge Working Group and the Gender Finance Collaborative have partnered together to offer a collaborative and gender-sensitive response to the hashtagCOVID19 pandemic. Learn more about our recommendations and call for action! hashtagWeCare hashtagSDGs hashtaggendersmart

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Originally posted on the author’s LinkedIn.