The novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is exhibiting catastrophic secondary impacts on women and girls’ health across the world. Particularly, the COVID-19 lockdown has inequitably affected the women due to the pre-existing gender inequalities, which are exacerbating many gender-based disparities within common populations. These include access to resources, access to information, coping capacities and socio-economic impact. During the previous outbreaks as well, such as Ebola, the needs of women were deemed mostly unmet. They were less likely to exercise their individual agency in the planning, policy make-up and overall decision-making. The resources for sexual and reproductive health were diverted towards the outbreak response, thus leading to a rise in maternal mortality. The current COVID-19 situation, particularly the lockdown, is said to increase the caregiving, household and childbearing responsibilities for women. This may result in their limited access to vital health services and access to education, thereby making them more vulnerable. It may also result in their increased risk of gender-based violence due to limited involvement and power in the household decision-making. Additionally, girls from marginalized spaces such as ‘with disabilities’, ‘informal urban settlement dwellers’ and ‘religious minorities’ may be significantly affected by the outbreak and the crisis it has lashed on the communities. It is, therefore, crucial to consider a gender-lens for the current COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts inflicting on the communities.
Ateeb Ahmad Parray. (2020) COVID-19: A gender-based analysis. The Center of Excellence for Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.