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COVID-19 and gender research in low- and middle-income countries

Research on COVID-19 and the social, economic and health ramifications of this pandemic is rapidly emerging from many disciplines. Concerns about losses to gender equality and the gendered impacts of the pandemic have been raised from its early stages, and research is increasingly beginning to consider the role gender plays in these relationships. Gendered impacts of COVID-19 included an increase in violence against women, unpaid labor, disproportionate levels of unemployment, and increased barriers to accessing maternal, reproductive, and sexual health services. From a policy perspective, it is important to synthesize findings from the multitude of studies that are being published, in order to:

  • Identify more widespread trends
  • Design responsive research, programs and policies, and
  • Underline the need for greater focus on issues of gender and COVID-19.

Additionally, as the virus spreads across nations, and the world looks towards a potential increase in infections in some regions over the coming months, it is imperative to keep track of if and how gendered impacts vary by time and geography.

With this background, we launched a periodic literature review of studies related to COVID-19 and gender in June 2020 (with studies dating back to February 2020). The review assesses research focusing on one or more low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and covers five broad thematic areas of interest:

  1. Health (women and girls’ health outcomes including
    health workers)
  2. Gender norms and gendered social impacts (unpaid work, gender-based violence, girls’ education, child marriage)
  3. Economic impacts (financial distress, employment)
  4. Women’s collectives
  5. Women’s leadership

Center on Gender Equity and Health. (2020). COVID-19 and Gender Research in LMICs: July-September 2020 Quarterly Review Report.

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