Equality and Justice in Covid-19 Responses

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Equality and Justice in Covid-19 Responses

February 25 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Register here: https://commonwealthfoundation.com/criticalconversations/

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in governance throughout the world—from health service provision to international aid.

Lessons from past epidemics confirm the importance of incorporating a gendered analysis to mount an effective and inclusive response. For example, during the 2014–16 West African Ebola outbreak, gendered norms meant that women were more likely to be infected by the virus, given their predominant roles as caregivers within families and as front-line health-care workers. And, as they were less likely than men to have decision-making power regarding the response, their needs remained largely unmet.

The Covid-19 pandemic appears to be playing out in a similar way with clear indications emerging that women are experiencing the pandemic differently to men—despite a relatively lower mortality rate. Overall, the vulnerabilities that reflect women’s gender roles and unequal social status are exacerbated. We see the results in higher rates of violence, faster economic decline and continued exclusion from decision making and policy development.

The issue of differentiated needs arises between as well as within countries. Responses to Covid have largely been ‘boilerplate’—a one-size-fits all approach that reflects both the urgency and the novelty of our situation. But it is becoming clear that policies and approaches which might work well in one part of the world will not necessarily work well elsewhere. For example, support to the informal economy may be a minor policy issue in a developed country but is a critical question of human survival—one with special resonance for women—in many developing countries. How do we make sure that these differences are recognised and taken account of?

This Critical Conversation will bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss responses to the pandemic so far, the challenges these reveal, and the ways in which we can ensure more just and equal responses to Covid-19 and future crises.