New York, NY, April 1, 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.
“For 75 years, CARE has always prioritized the needs of the world’s most vulnerable,” says Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE USA. “From natural disasters and armed conflict to public health emergencies, our past Rapid Gender Analyses have shown that power discrepancies are often exacerbated during emergencies, which deepens existing vulnerabilities. We need to ensure that the emergency response to COVID-19 doesn’t forget society’s most marginalized people, as is too often the case. This COVID-19 Global Rapid Gender Analysis shows us how.”
The 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.
- Recognize the capacities of women, men, adolescent boys and girls through social networks, women’s groups and civil society.
- Provide gender-sensitive support to frontline health workers to meet health and psychosocial needs, including for survivors of gender-based violence.
- Continue 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.
- Address 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.
- Establish and/or strengthen inclusive community engagement and accountability mechanisms.
- Plan for an increase in GBV cases, and/or an increase in vulnerability and needs of GBV survivors, and strengthen and fill gaps in the provision of local GBV survivor-centered referral systems and services.
- Ensure 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.”