COVID-19 and Gender Equality

Previous pandemics have shown us that gender inequality is not a side issue and that recognizing factors that can marginalize individuals in different groups can save lives. We also know that crises exacerbate gender inequalities and lessons that we have learned from previous pandemics and from COVID-19 include:

  • Gender-based violence increases during confinement – for instance in Hubei, China.
  • School closures during Ebola affected girls’ life chances, because many dropped out of education (sexual violence and the consequent rise in teenage-pregnancy rates exacerbated this trend).
  • The concept of the “second shift” for women still exists, with women doing 3-10 times more care work than men
  • In the 2015-2016 Zika outbreak, women faced significant barriers to health care due to lack of autonomy over their own sexual and reproductive health, inadequate access to health services, and insufficient financial resources.
  • During the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak, women were more likely to be infected due to their predominant roles as caretakers and health workers. Moreover, more women and girls died of obstetric complications during Ebola, than the infectious disease itself.

This document contains Save the Children's global guidance on gender equality and COVID-19.

Last updated: 06-04-20

Published 2020-03-20

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