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Gender and COVID-19: A guidance note for parliaments

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Women are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the OECD, 70 per cent of health workers are women. Women make up the majority of carers in the home and workers in grocery stores or pharmacies. The economic downturn will disproportionately affect women more than men. Women workers are also more likely than men to have lower paid and less secure jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic and some of the measures to contain it are putting women's lives and safety at risk. Violence against women is already an epidemic with 137 women killed every day in the world by a family member. Living in confinement and in times of economic stress can also increase the risk of sexual exploitation and violence against women. 

Failing to take into account gendered dimensions in the response to the pandemic will not only exacerbate existing inequalities but also create new ones. So what solutions can parliaments and parliamentarians bring to address the gender aspects of the pandemic?

This new guidance note is designed for parliaments as a resource to help them manage the crisis. It contains recommendations and examples from other parliaments on 

  • women’s participation and leadership in parliamentary decision-making on COVID-19
  • gender-responsive COVID-19 legislation
  • overseeing government action on the pandemic from a gender perspective
  • the roles of MPs in communicating and raising awareness of COVID-19 and its effects;
  • gender-sensitive parliaments in a time of contagion.

Share your examples of gender-responsive parliamentary practices during the COVID-19 pandemic by writing to [email protected]

Read the guidance note.

For examples of gender-responsive parliamentary practices, see Djibouti, the European Parliament, Mexico, New Zealand,  and the United Kingdom on the page of country compilation of parliamentary responses to the pandemic.