One Big Thing: Are women more at risk of violence due the COVID-19 outbreak?
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What is it?
- In times public heath crises like the COVID-19 outbreak, women have been significantly more at risk. Around the world, the burden of caregiving more often than not falls on women in the household and in healthcare professions.
- On top of this, gender-based violence (GBV) has seen a global spike as quarantine restrictions force many women to “lockdown” with their abusers. During the Ebola outbreak, similar trends occurred to women and girls in West Africa where social distancing practices were enforced.
Why is it important?
- Responses to the COVID-19 outbreak must be gender-balanced and account for existing social norms and power structures which disproportionally place women in danger. This includes bringing women to the table in COVID-19 response planning and decision making.
- Quarantine restrictions have also made it more difficult for women who experience GBV to report abuse and access first-response systems. Governments, first responders and healthcare facilities should prepare accordingly for an influx of GBV-related patients.
- Globally, women are less likely to work in formal economic sectors which provide healthcare and other benefits. Responses should include formal safety nets for women who are affected by these economic vulnerabilities.
What can you do?
- WATCH a discussion how COVID-19 will affect women around the world hosted by Georgetown University’s Women Peace and Security.
- The Freedom Network has provided links to resources for survivors and providers relating to human trafficking, domestic violence and similar issues.
- Go into detail with the United Nations and Refugee International on recommendations to help women amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
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