Press release: Women hit harder by socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Asia-Pacific, says UN Women report

The coronavirus is exacerbating pervasive gender inequalities and discrimination facing women in the region.

Date: Thursday, April 9, 2020

Originally published by UN Women's regional office for Asia and the Pacific

Gender and social inequalities that underpinned societies in Asia and the Pacific before the novel corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are now exacerbated, making bad situations for women and girls even worse, warns a new report by UN Women.

The report entitled The First 100 Days of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Asia and the Pacific: A Gender Lens, presents a snapshot of the gender dimensions of the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and captures promising practices for integrating gender in preparedness and response planning while proposing potential and entry points to mitigate the socio-economic impacts for women and girls in the region.

The publication highlights the immediate needs of women in the context of the pandemic, including those of female health-care workers and survivors of gender-based violence, as well as direct impacts related to women and girls’ unpaid care work, sexual and reproductive health and rights, interrupted access to education and unequal access to information.

“Asia and the Pacific continues to be the region most prone to natural disasters in the world. The gendered impacts of additional disasters within the context of COVID-19 can be anticipated: A Mekong drought, for example, combined with the increased need for hygiene practices such as handwashing in the context of the pandemic, will likely result in significant increases to the unpaid care work burden of women, who are primarily responsible for collection of water for household use” says Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

“Response and recovery efforts must place the needs of women and girls at the centre and be grounded in the socio-economic realities that they face,” he added.

The ‘100 Days’ gender report discusses the impacts and the potential way forward on issues including women, peace and security, gender and disaster risk reduction, ending violence against women and women’s economic empowerment, while stressing the specific needs of marginalized and underserved groups, including refugees, women with disabilities, LGBTQI persons and women living with HIV.

The report also brings to light that a gender lens on this crisis enables us to leverage existing work and expertise – from rebuilding in disasters to rebuilding peace – to ensure that the world post-COVID is built on principles of human rights and gender equality.

Media contact:
Montira Narkvichien
Regional Communications Specialist
UN Women Asia and the Pacific
T: (66) 2288 1579, M: (66) 8166 88900 | E: montira.narkvichien@unwomen.org