Development Digest: The Gender Implications of COVID-19
Data shows that men are more likely to die from COVID-19. However, around the world women will be disproportionately affected by the social and economic impact of the pandemic.
Women make up 70% of the health workforce globally and are on the front lines of the response. In this sector, there is an average gender pay gap of 28%.
As a result of the burgeoning pressure on health systems, access to contraception, abortion, maternal health and menstrual hygiene products & services have declined.
Women around the world already shoulder the burden of unpaid and low-paid care work. Even so, the burden of household tasks will increase with more people staying at home due to school closures and lockdown measures.⠀
Women will also bear the brunt of widespread job cuts as they mostly work in the informal sector. In Bangladesh, over a million garment workers have been laid off without pay, 80 percent of them were women.⠀
Anecdotal evidence identifies a surge in calls to domestic violence hotlines around the world since lockdowns commenced. Many women and girls are stuck at home with their abusers and have limited access to protection services and social support. For example, South Africa reported 87,000 cases of GBV in its first week of lockdown. ⠀
Based on this evidence, countries are encouraged to consider gender dynamics and responsibilities when drafting responses to tackle the pandemic, to ensure that the gender gap does not widen any further.