Since the beginning of the pandemic, the S&Ds have called for a proactive, gender-sensitive response to the crisis and its aftermath. Domestic and gender-based violence have increased, sexual and reproductive health and rights have been attacked, and experience from previous crises suggests that women's financial situations will be disproportionally impacted in the long term. The poverty rate for women was expected to decrease by 2.7% between 2019 and 2021, but projections by UN Women and UNDP now point to an increase of 9.1% due to the pandemic and its fallout.
Women are on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, as they are disproportionally represented in professions with high risks of exposure in hospitals, shops, schools and care homes, and in sectors where job losses are high. Many are also suffering due to a widening of the digital gender gap and the gender divide in unpaid care work. At the same time, women in these sectors are rarely involved in decision-making, due to the glass ceilings in our societies.
We cannot afford to let this pandemic become a gender-equality crisis. The disproportionate effect on women requires a progressive and gender-sensitive approach, for both immediate and long-term action, on a national and EU level. We are once again calling on the Commission and the member states to put gender equality and women’s rights at the heart of the Covid recovery and resilience plans. If we want to repair the economic and social damage done by this crisis, it is crucial we increase women’s participation in the labour market and strengthen the connection between climate-change policies, digital policies and gender equality.
For more details see our position paper A progressive gender-sensitive approach to the Covid-19 crisis.