Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, girls and women around the globe are experiencing heightened insecurities, threatening female lives and livelihood. Previous worldwide progress towards achieving gender equality has in a short time span been pushed back years, and the current environment allows for these new structures to stick. Across all countries, women’s rights are endangered, and the severity is large.
Women have been on the front line since the outbreak of the virus. As main caretakers at home, and overrepresented within the health sector, their presence in tackling the virus is of utter importance. However, the worldwide adaption to the pandemic has created an environment in which women are found more vulnerable. When a crisis strikes, women are in general hit the hardest due to already existing gender inequalities. To a large extent, women carry the burden of unpaid labor in their homes, which has inflated during the crisis. Families are spending more time at home as a social distancing measure and many schools have been closed which has both exposed as well as increased the unpaid labor and women’s careers’ have been deprioritized. In poorer parts of the world, girls risk being pulled out of school to assist with care and domestic work at home, diluting their possibilities of retrieving a full education which threatens their independence and future livelihood. This is a major setback in the worldwide progress towards gender equality. The economic consequences of Covid-19 are great but, according to McKinsey, the situation for women is amplified. Women’s jobs are found to be 1,8 times more vulnerable to the pandemic compared to men due to an overrepresentation in sectors which have, and are expected to, decline the most.
Governments across the world have implemented various social distancing measures as well as full lockdowns to combat the virus which has led to what UN Women describes as a “shadow pandemic”, the increased violence against women. Forced to their homes, women are locked in with their abusers and the uncertain situation in complement with rising unemployment has led to increased frustration and tension amongst men who take it out on women.
Women account for over one half of the worldwide population, yet women’s rights continues to be suppressed. The pandemic has amplified and exacerbated issues women around the world face daily.
Explainer— How COVID-19 Impacts Women and Girls from UN Women
Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls from the UN Sustainable Development Goals
COVID-19 and Gender Equality: Countering the Regressive Effects from McKinsey Global Institute
Violence against Women and Girls: the Shadow Pandemic from UN Women