This section hosts guidelines, manuals and toolkits to strengthen public health practice.
Globally, COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing challenges women face with respect to their health, safety and work, besides adding new and unique pandemic-related challenges. Women are more vulnerable to the disease, due to their high engagement in ‘essential’ frontline occupations like the health, care, education, and service sectors. Although women comprise 70 percent of the global healthcare workforce, they hold only 25 percent of leadership positions. Further, data show that women are significantly underrepresented in COVID-19 task forces, making up only 24 percent of members.
The White Paper titled “The Lasting Effects of COVID-19 on Women” points out the impact of COVID-19 on negative mental health effects, increased incidences of gender-based violence, and lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care, maternal health care, and other services that were not considered “essential” during the pandemic. Additionally, in almost every sector, women experienced more job losses than men. Globally, some 54 million women left the workforce due to the pandemic. In India, 47% women lost their jobs and did not return to work by the end of the year after the first lockdown in 2020 compared to 7% of men who lost their jobs.
The paper includes examples of recovery progress that incorporate women’s full contributions and provides recommendations. For example, the Biden Administration’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, Canada’s Feminist Economic Recovery Plan, African Union’s Gender-Responsive Interventions to COVID-19 on the Continent, UN Women’s Feminist Roadmap for Economic Recovery and Transformation so on.
Key takeaways for recovery plan:
Create Gender Proactive Recovery Plans
Global recovery plans must include gender-responsive employment policies to address the gender-specific effects of COVID-19 on women’s work, health, and safety.
Protect All Women Workers
COVID-19 recovery plans must include policies and practices that are gender-inclusive and include women in informal, vulnerable, and/or unregulated employment, migrant women, women with disabilities, and pregnant and lactating women. Recovery plans must also prioritize healthcare workers’ health, safety, and support.
Support and Recognize Caregivers
The care sector, both paid and unpaid, must be central to any recovery plan. Women left the workforce due to the high demand for caregiving caused by school closures, home elder care, and limited resources for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related illnesses.