UN chief highlights Covid-19's impacts on women

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on women.

A pandemic amplifies and increases all existing inequalities. With COVID-19, this is even more, Guterres said in a policy briefing on Thursday, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The policy brief highlighted the social and economic impacts of the pandemic on women in four areas: economic, health, unpaid care, and gender-based violence.

In all areas, from health to the economy, from security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply because of their sex, the policy report says.

These impacts risk reversing the limited gains made in women's rights in recent decades, Guterres warned.

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She called for the inclusion of women and women's organizations at the center of the COVID-19 response; transforming inequalities in unpaid care work into a new inclusive care economy that works for everyone; the design of socioeconomic plans with an intentional focus on the life and future of women and girls.

Putting women and girls at the center of economies will fundamentally drive better and more sustainable development outcomes for all, support a faster recovery and get us back on track to achieve it, the policy report said.

Women are the majority of people employed in the sectors most affected by the closure of companies due to COVID-19, including the service sector and tourism. The situation is worse in developing economies where the vast majority of women's employment, 70 percent, is in the informal economy with little protection against dismissal or paid sick leave and limited access to social protection.

The policy brief recommended actions, including prioritizing putting money in women's hands through cash transfer programs, expanding social protections, including for informal workers, and easing the tax burden on women-owned businesses.

Women's health is negatively affected by the reallocation of resources and priorities, including sexual and reproductive health services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Women may be at increased risk of exposure, as they constitute 70 percent of the global health workforce in the first line of response to COVID-19.

The policy brief called for specific attention to the needs and protection of health workers and the continuation of standard health services.

With children out of school, the intensive care needs of the elderly and ill family members and overwhelmed health services, the demands for care work in a COVID-19 world have intensified exponentially. Before the crisis, women already had an average of three times more work time at home than men.

The policy brief recommended the expansion of social protection, the expansion of child care programs, and the design of economic recovery packages that ultimately make visible and value unpaid care in the formal economy.

As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens economic and social stress along with restricted measures of movement and social isolation, gender-based violence increases exponentially.

The policy brief recommends that all countries include prevention and response in their national response plans COVID-19, ensure that domestic violence shelters are designated essential services, move aid and reporting and response online where possible, and increase funding for civil society organizations that provide services. in the communities

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