Stories

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This World AIDS Day, there is progress around the globe to celebrate, in access to HIV testing, life-saving treatment and care. We are seeing increased recognition of the role that gender norms play in the HIV response, leading to improved HIV prevention methods, targeted HIV policies and programmes, and access to comprehensive sexuality education for women and girls. There are, however, also strong alarm bells that this progress is increasingly unequal.
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Since February 1, women and girls have been at the frontlines as leaders of civil society organizations, civil servants, activists, journalists, artists and influencers exercising their fundamental rights to express their hopes for the future of their country. Even before the coup, women, who make up 75 per cent of Myanmar’s healthcare professionals, were at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Now, during a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases, many women continue in their activism and serve their communities while also assuming significant responsibilities as caregivers for sick family members, and for their children’s home-based learning.
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UN Women and health sector experts answer some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and how it impacts women and girls in India.
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Kate Hampton is CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). She also represents the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, working to develop catalytic actions and commitments to advance gender equality. Hampton’s action priority is leveraging the potential of self-managed care so that women and girls can take control of their own reproductive health and rights.
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On World Health Day,7 April, UN Women spotlights women on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 and growing inequality
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A.H. Monjurul Kabir is the UN Coordination Adviser on Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion. He leads UN Women’s Global Task Team on Disability Inclusion and Intersectionality. In 2019, 55 UN Women offices (in addition to our work through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women) supported women and girls with disabilities across all areas of work through the provision of normative guidance, integrated policy advice, knowledge management, operational support and capacity development. In this interview, Mr. Kabir talks about the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls with disabilities and the need for an intersectional approach.
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In a statement for World AIDS Day, 1 December, UN Women highlights the need to accelerate action towards gender equality, ending violence, supporting leadership and the full enjoyment of their human rights for all young women and girls, especially those affected by both coronavirus and HIV
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Gladys Koech has been working as an occupational therapist for persons with disabilities in Kenya’s coastal region for more than 10 years. Through the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), she also works with communities to strengthen their understanding of disabilities and combat widespread stigma. UN Women’s partnership with the Council of Governors in Kenya has boosted resources to helplines around the country. As COVID-19 has increased demand for psychosocial services, Koech has witnessed a growing trend of mothers of children with disabilities being abandoned by their partners. Part of UN Women’s COVID-19 response in Kenya is being carried out in conjunction with UNICEF and UNDP as part of the Joint Devolution Programme supported by the Governments of Sweden, Finland, and Italy.
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On the International Day of Rural Women, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka calls for building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.
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One of UN Women’s partner on the ground, the Restart Center, is providing treatment, psychosocial support and distributing medicine to the most vulnerable.
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As COVID-19 ravages the world, Mexico is among the countries hardest hit. Despite the myriad ways this global crisis is devastating women and girls, it has also served as a powerful reminder of the essential contributions of women. The women featured in this article represent just some of Mexico’s many pandemic heroines.
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Dr. Christine Sadia is a gender and public health expert with over 30 years’ experience advising governments on health and gender issues, such as psychosocial needs of women in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and HIV programming during the Indonesia tsunami. UN Women is supporting Dr. Sadia in her current role as a Gender and Public Health Advisor for Kenya’s State Department for Gender Affairs, to advise on the country’s national emergency response for COVID-19.
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In the midst of another pandemic, we are still fighting hard for gender equality, with the coronavirus crisis amplifying existing inequalities and power imbalances and disproportionately affecting women – including in the devastatingly sharp increases in domestic violence. Yet the pandemic is also an opportunity to ‘build back better’ and transform structural gender inequalities.
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Following the declaration of a state of emergency in Morocco due to COVID-19, rural women are struggling to maintain their cooperatives.
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Despite the unprecedented challenges, Iraqi women are playing vital roles in the country’s COVID-19 response, serving as leaders, health and social workers, and responders to domestic and gender-based violence.
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Separated by their country’s divisions, both geographically and politically, 36 Libyan women have since used their phones to connect, discuss and overcome their differences in the interest of one goal: Peace.
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Around the world, women are shining through as outstanding leaders as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates. From Germany to New Zealand and Denmark to Iceland, women leaders have shown clarity in their decisions and policies, they are compassionate, empathetic, strong communicators and they show solidarity. Her Excellency Vjosa Osmani, the first woman assembly president in Kosovo, has been praised for her professionalism in leading the assembly during the crisis. She is a Doctor of Legal Sciences, former professor and mother of two girls.
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The Government of Sweden and UN Women Moldova provided 28,000 units of protective equipment to social assistance staff from 36 territorial departments throughout the country. The coveralls and masks were purchased from three local companies run by women. Thus, the procurements provided financial support both to factories and to employees who kept their jobs and salaries during this time of crisis provoked by COVID-19. At the same time, textile enterprises took steps to help front-line workers.
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Early into the COVID-19 crisis, UN Women, in partnership with Arab World for Research and Development, conducted in-depth interviews with Palestinian women in the West Bank and Gaza for a new study that sheds new light on the situation and needs of Palestinian women and girls.
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Dilyora Mammadova, a woman living with HIV from Tajikistan, is working with affected women and high-risk groups, helping identify new cases of local HIV infection, supporting women with the same diagnosis, and bringing them medicine. Through a joint UN Women- UNAIDS project for women living with HIV in 2019, her small sewing workshop and her business proposal received funding. Nowadays, due to the high demand for COVID-19 protection masks, Mammadova is supplying masks.