New COVID-19 Global Rapid Gender Analysis Addresses Concerns of Women and Girls in Pandemic

OTTAWA, 1 APRIL 2020 – Today, CARE and the International Rescue Committee published a Rapid Gender Assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic based on secondary data analysis undertaken between 12-20 March 2020. The analysis was undertaken to explore the current and potential gendered dimensions of COVID-19 and highlights the ways in which women, girls, and other marginalized people are likely to suffer from the pandemic. The Rapid Gender Analysis is intended to be read as a compendium to CARE’s policy brief Gender Implications of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Development and Humanitarian Settings published on 16 March 2020.

"From natural disasters and armed conflict to public health emergencies, we know that the gender specific needs of women, men, boys and girls often go overlooked," said Jessie Thomson CARE Canada’s Vice President of International Programs.

"During emergencies, power discrepancies are often exacerbated, vulnerabilities are deepened, and opportunities are missed to support the unique needs of women and girls, their leadership and participation. Adding the challenge of COVID-19 to countries already experiencing war, poverty, and instability creates a perfect storm of factors that will disproportionately affect women and girls in these settings. We need to ensure that the emergency response to COVID-19 isn't gender blind, as is too often the case. This COVID-19 Global Rapid Gender Analysis is a key piece of the puzzle."

The Global Rapid Gender Analysis for COVID-19 examines evidence from past public health emergencies, as well as available data around how COVID-19 affects gender roles and responsibilities; access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); gender-based violence (GBV); decision-making and leadership; and access to information. The Rapid Gender Analysis for COVID-19 continues by calling for:

  • Systematic and systemic collection and use of sex and age disaggregated data (with additional disaggregation based on at-risk groups, including those who are pregnant) and gender indicators to be included in all assessments for effective program and advocacy.
  • Conducting recurring analyses of local social and gender norms and customs that define health-seeking behaviours and their related barriers.
  • Meaningful engagement of women, adolescent girls, and all marginalized groups in leadership and decision-making roles in preparedness and response efforts, at all levels—from global to local.
  • Recognizing the capacities of women, men, adolescent boys and girls through social networks, women’s groups, and civil society.
  • Providing gender-sensitive support to front line health workers to meet health and psycho-social needs, including for survivors of gender based violence.
  • Continuing the provision of life-saving health services, including SRHR services, specifically the MISP and GBV prevention and response, as well as training first responders on how to handle GBV disclosures.
  • Addressing stigma, xenophobia, and other power dynamics that could hinder access to life-saving health/SRHR for marginalized groups; including shelter and safe spaces for self-isolation and care.
  • Establishing and/or strengthening inclusive community engagement and accountability mechanisms.
  • Planning for an increase in GBV cases, and/or an increase in vulnerability and needs of GBV survivors, and strengthening and filling gaps in the provision of local GBV survivor-centered referral systems and services.
  • Ensuring responses take a rights-based approach, assuring and respecting the rights of refugees, internally displaced populations, migrant/domestic workers, and other people of concern.

"The effects and impact of global crises, such as COVID-19, differ greatly across the gender spectrum," said Kristin Kim Bart, Senior Director of Gender Equality for the International Rescue Committee. "While the specific impacts and needs of women and girls have been profiled more in the media in recent weeks than during previous times of crisis, we need to see this translate into different decisions and action. Decision makers cannot ignore these differences when putting forward response plans and ensure women and girls’ voices inform all levels of the response. It is critical that changes are made now in collecting and analyzing data, enacting governmental policies, and allocating resources so that women and girls are not left further behind."

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Lama Alsafi
media@care.ca | 613-228-5641

Notes to editors:


About CARE Canada:

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls in developing countries to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE stands with women and girls around the world in economic empowerment. We bring women, girls, and their communities together to challenge inequality while facing issues like food insecurity, climate change, and emergency relief in times of crisis or disaster. CARE works in 100 countries around the world.

To learn more about CARE Canada, visit www.care.ca