The United Nations Thursday reported that a “vanishingly small” portion of Covid-19 donor funding was used to address surging violence against women and girls during the pandemic.
Drawing from a unique global dataset of roughly 5000 measures adopted by 226 countries and territories in response to the Covid pandemic, the report from UN Women and UN Development Programme addresses three critical policy areas: violence against women and girls, women’s economic security and unpaid care.
The report notes that the pandemic dealt a disproportionate blow to women and girls, reflected in rising instances of violence, sudden job losses and the unmanageable burden of unpaid care work. Only a few countries factored gender-based violence into their Covid-19 response plans, the report found, and countries with more robust infrastructure and pre-existing gender-responsive public services were better-suited to tackle the crisis.
Pertinently, the report observed that more often than not there was a glaring absence of women’s voices within Covid-19 decision-making, with women occupying merely 24 percent of seats on Covid-19 task forces while one in ten task forces lacked women altogether. Moreover, only 0.0002 percent of Covid-19 response donor funding was actually directed towards tackling gender-based violence. The report also found that there was a positive correlation between more female representation in leadership positions and higher gender response.
“Without significant efforts to strengthen this infrastructure now, a gender-just recovery will remain elusive, and most countries will remain ill-prepared for the next big shock,” the report warned.