Women, who are nearly twice as likely as men to lose their jobs during the Covd 19 pandemic crisis, are unheard and never become part of crucial COVID-19 decision-making spaces. Though women form a larger force in fighting the pandemic, they remain vastly underrepresented, according to UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2020 Annual report.
The report notes that unequal recovery opportunities from the pandemic could be further exacerbated without women in decision-making roles and a shift in the power balance.
The report mentioned that a crisis for the first time in recent history is threatening to reverse hard-won gains on women’s rights and gender equality by worsening pre-existing gender inequalities and power imbalances.
HIGHLIGHTS OF UNDP’S 2020 GENDER EQUALITY AND COVID-19 WORK:
Gender based violence; UNDP increased efforts as part of the governance work to address the pandemic-related surge in gender-based violence. It supported more than 80 countries in 2020 to adapt dedicated services and integrate gender-based violence considerations into their COVID-19 efforts.
Social protection; As the technical lead of the UN’s socio-economic response to COVID-19, UNDP prioritized gender-responsive social protection. In 2020, with UNDP support over 41 countries boosted gender-responsive social protection and 1.8 million people directly benefited from UNDP cash transfer programmes, of whom 69 percent were women. UNDP also called for bold public policies to improve women’s social protection, such as a temporary basic income specifically for women.
Women’s Leadership; The UNDP ensured that women have a seat at its decision making table. The pandemic has highlighted how women are still missing from many decision-making spaces, including in the COVID-19 recovery. To improve women’s participation and leadership, 209 measures – from electoral quotas to gender-smart business policies – were put in place with UNDP support in 2020.
- In 2018-2020, with UNDP support 43.4 million women gained access to basic services, financial services, and non-financial assets.
- UNDP worked to shift social norms and raise awareness about unpaid care work through media and online campaigns in over 15 countries.
- UNDP helped 71 countries improve gender-equal access to quality health care. For instance, in India UNDP trained women, who make up 75 percent of 12,000 government health workers, in the implementation of a mobile and cloud-based smart vaccine logistics system.
- UNDP and partners provided access to clean energy for 2.6 million women-headed households in 23 countries.
THE WAY FORWARD
The importance of data: Data and analytics are the first step to closing gender gaps, but there is still too little internationally comparable data available. UNDP will continue to push for and collect better gender-disaggregated data through initiatives like the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker.
Shifting social norms: UNDP’s Gender Social Norms Index and the related global media campaign #CheckYourBias revealed the urgent need to change discriminatory norms, biases and perceptions. UNDP will continue to tackle these social norms across our development work and push for a new generation of policies that address biases, norms and power structures, which could be a game changer for gender equality.
Investing in capacities: UNDP learned in 2020 about the benefits of creating spaces for meaningful conversations across teams, of integrating gender experts across other areas and of expert knowledge exchange. UNDP will continue to invest in its gender architecture to provide agile and multidisciplinary responses
Crisis and fragility settings : In 2020, evaluations revealed that UNDP needs to invest more in capacities to ensure that gender equality is systematically addressed in crisis and post-crisis setting. In response, UNDP developed a road map to accelerate changes and will continue to make bold decisions to put gender equality at the centre of its efforts in crisis and fragility contexts. New and innovative approaches were developed during the pandemic between governments, UN agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector. UNDP will continue to nurture its relationships with partners, including civil society, to build national, regional and global platforms for policy and social change.
Centrality of partnerships: New and innovative approaches were developed during the pandemic between governments, UN agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector. UNDP will continue to nurture its relationships with partners, including civil society, to build national, regional and global platforms for policy and social change.