By Nuru Ahmed

Many nations are failing to protect women and girls from pandemic linked risks like domestic violence and abuse, the United Nations(UN) Women and UN Development Programme reveals.

Only one in eight countries worldwide have brought in measures to specifically protect women from the impacts of corona virus according to a database of government responses to Covid-19 launched by the two UN Agencies.

U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “COVID-19 pandemic is hitting women hard as victims of domestic violence locked down with their abusers, as unpaid caregivers in families and communities and as workers in jobs that lack social protection.”

While 71% of all gender-related measures identified focused primarily on preventing violence against women and girls, only 10% aimed at strengthening women’s economic security. Less than a third of the policy measures focused on unpaid care work.

The Covid-19 Global Gender Response Tracker analyses state responses to the pandemic in 206 countries to assess whether they include measures to tackle violence against women and girls, support unpaid care or boost women’s economic security.

One in five countries failed to bring in COVID-19 responses in any of the three areas, they found, and just 12% had taken action in all of them.

Higher-income countries were more likely to have taken action to protect women and girls, the database showed.

In Europe, 93% of countries had taken at least one measure, as compared to just 63% of African nations.

According to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner the pandemic may still bring positive changes.
“COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity for countries to transform existing economic models towards a renewed social contract that prioritizes social justice and gender equality,” he said.