COVID-19 has highlighted and worsened many inequities that existed before the pandemic. These inequities include those of gender, class, race, caste, disability and sexuality. Examination of these inequities demonstrates the intersectionality between them and that effective policy responses need to be sensitive to this. Without an intersectional approach people will fall through the cracks. The gendered and race nature of the care economy has become apparent as has the low status and pay workers in this economy experience.
Care for people with disability in particular has been put under significant stress during the pandemic. While many people with a disability have been at higher risk of infection and death during the pandemic, their access to health and care services has not been prioritised, and disability advocates have highlighted the ongoing marginalisation of their voices. In addition, the majority of the social care workforce are women, employed on contracts without access to paid leave and with low wages. Despite being essential workers they often experienced financial hardship and were exposed to occupational risks from COVID-19.
Gender activists in many countries around the world have responded to COVID-19 and demanded better responses from governments. These demands have been made along with demands for action on the climate and ecological crisis. Government responses have varied but in many countries the pandemic has been used by governments to crack down on dissent and responses have been militarised. The space for civil society action appears to be closing since the pandemic started. Yet nearly all social and economic reforms have their origins in civil society movements.
This session will examine how gender activists responded to the pressure of COVID-19 and government interventions, against a backdrop of the politicisation of gender-related issues and increasing recognition of the importance of intersectionalities.
Register here: https://go.unu.edu/ldY5b
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For more information on the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health, visit https://genderandhealthcommission.org/
For more information on the Gender and Health Hub, visit Home – Gender & Health Hub (genderhealthhub.org)