UN Women, COVID-19 and ending violence against women and girls

As the pandemic is moving beyond a global health crisis and morphing into a labour market, social and economic crisis, The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to women’s employment and livelihoods as it deepens pre-existing inequalities, and exposes cracks in social, political and economic systems. From access to health services, social protection and digital technologies, to significant rise of domestic violence and unpaid care work, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for many around the world. Women with caring responsibilities, informal workers, low-income families and youth are among the hardest hit.

Globally, women represent 55.8 per cent of employees in service industries, while in the G7, women make up around 88 per cent of the service industry workforce. Nearly 60 per cent of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty. Most are unable to work remotely and may require additional care support for children or older family members as they leave their homes to work.

This pandemic has brought to light the collective reliance on public social safety nets in a time of crisis. The COVID-19 crisis has also made starkly visible the fact that the world’s formal economies and the maintenance of our daily lives are built on the invisible and unpaid labour of women and girls. Along with governments, the private sector and workers’ representatives have a key role to play in establishing an equitable and gender-responsive future of work, now increasingly reliant on digital technology, and built on social, environmental and economic justice.

Followed brief highlights emerging evidence of the impact of the recent global pandemic of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls. It makes recommendations to be considered by all sectors of society, from governments to international organizations and to civil society organizations, in order to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, at the onset, during, and after the public health crisis, with examples of actions already taken. It also considers the economic impact of the pandemic and its implications for violence against women and girls in the long term.

It is a living document that draws upon the knowledge and experience of a wide range of experts who support solutions to end violence against women and girls, attentive to the country context in which the crisis is occurring.

This brief is part of the “EVAW COVID-19 briefs” series.

View online/download

Bibliographic information

Subject area(s): COVID-19Domestic violence/interpersonal violenceEconomic empowermentEnding violence against women and girlsHealth

Resource type: BriefsIssue papers

Series: EVAW COVID-19 briefs

UN Women office involved in publication: UN Women Headquarters

Publication year: 2020

Number of pages: 10

Publishing entities: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

For more information: https://unwomen.org

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