Justice for women amidst COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global emergency of multiple dimensions. Most national governments have adopted extraordinary measures to protect their citizens and overcome the pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 global crisis, 2020 was expected to be a year for reviewing achievements and accelerating progress on gender equality after 25 years of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and 20 years since UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. There is now major concern that COVID-19 and its impact will push back fragile progress on gender equality, including in relation to reversing discriminatory laws, the enactment of new laws, the implementation of existing legislation, and broader progress needed to achieving justice for all.

This rapid assessment examines how the impacts of COVID-19 are threatening women’s ability to access justice. The assessment reflects challenges faced by women and girls of diverse backgrounds and socio-economic groups, including those experiencing overlapping disadvantages—for example, women on the front lines—and those facing amplified challenges in humanitarian settings. Cross-regional and local experiences are highlighted, and quantitative data is utilized where available. Past epidemics are informative—and sobering—in terms of risks for women and offer lessons about how to prevent and mitigate these risks.

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