Resource: Women’s Care Burden Has to be Recognised

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Yara Tarabulsi and Lina Abou-Habib, Women’s Care Burden Has to be Recognised, Corona and Care, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 29 April 2020, https://www.fes.de/themenportal-gender-jugend-senioren/gender-matters/gender-blog/beitrag-lesen/womens-care-burden-has-to-be-recognised.

Excerpt: ‘Women working outside the home, women engaged in home-based work, and women who only work at home as carers or what is commonly referred to as “housewives” have all been affected by the pandemic – albeit in slightly different ways.  This is particularly exacerbated in situations where children have also been confined with their parents and have moved to online schooling. The ways in which teleworking and online schooling have been enforced, at least in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, have been completely oblivious of the unequal relations of power within households, especially where there is a dearth of physical space and material resources.  Poor internet connectivity and limited computer and technical hardware, for instance, have meant that choices must be made in terms of who will have priority to use the internet.  That choice rarely favours women and girls.

Resource: Justice for Women amidst COVID-19

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Jeni Klugman, Justice for Women amidst COVID-19, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, May 2020, https://giwps.georgetown.edu/resource/justice-for-women-amidst-covid-19/.

Executive summary: ‘This report documents major challenges to women’s access to justice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and puts forth recommendations to accelerate action and push back against threats to progress.

Authored by GIWPS Managing Director Dr. Jeni Klugman, the report is jointly published by UN Women, IDLO, UNDP, UNODC, World Bank, and The Pathfinders for Justice, with support by the Elders.

Curtailed access to justice institutions, rising intimate partner violence, growing injustice for women workers—including those on the frontlines of the crisis—and discriminatory laws are some of the major risks to women’s lives and livelihoods associated with COVID-19.

The crisis particularly affects vulnerable groups of women, including those who are forcibly displaced, deprived of liberty or lack a legal identity, and the impact is compounded by the digital divide according to the report.

There is also serious concern that gains made on gender equality will be rolled back during the pandemic, including through delays in reversing discriminatory laws, the enactment of new laws, and the implementation of existing legislation.

The report includes ten-point recommendations to ensure a healthy justice system, including:

  • Institute urgent judicial proceedings, especially for serious crimes including domestic violence, using technology.
  • Replace full legal trials with interim judicial orders to promote the safety and well-being of women and children. Examples include, protection orders, restraining orders, orders for child maintenance and/or custody, injunctions against evicting widows and children from the matrimonial home, and injunctions against the marriage of a child.
  • Protect women deprived of their liberty and on a case-by-case basis release womenwho are pregnant, imprisoned with children, pre-trial detainees, elderly women, those with underlying health conditions, those detained for low-risk offenses, and those with less than 12 months left to serve on their sentence.
  • Ensure access to legal aid and enable poor people to seek justice that would be otherwise out of reach. Such services should be advertised extensively—in public but also on TV, social media, and via public service announcements—so that women know about them. This also suggests a strong role for civil society organizations (CSOs), which are often better networks of information for women in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Support community-based paralegal organizations that can provide legal advice, alternative dispute resolution channels, and facilitate the dissemination of information more broadly in partnership with women in the media and local radio stations.
  • Invest in data and monitoring and evidence-based policies: Justice leaders need timely access to relevant data and evidence on the justice impacts of COVID-19 and responses to the crisis, as well as evidence on the best ways to address those impacts. Across the board, it is important to collect sex-disaggregated data to understand the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on women, especially at national and sub-national levels.

Resource: The Pandemic Has Revealed the Weakness of Strongmen

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Helen Lewis, The Pandemic Has Revealed the Weakness of Strongmen, The Atlantic, 6 May 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/05/new-zealand-germany-women-leadership-strongmen-coronavirus/611161/.

Excerpt: ‘…it’s tempting to reach the conclusion that women must be better at dealing with this crisis because of their gender… This line of reasoning, however, is flawed—and potentially dangerous to women’s progress in politics. It’s not that women leaders are doing better. It’s just that strongmen are doing worse… So let’s not flip the old sexist script. After centuries of dogma that men are naturally better suited to leadership, the opposite is not suddenly true. Women leaders aren’t the cause of better government. They are a symptom of it.

Resource: COVID-19: Emerging Gender Data and Why it Matters

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UN Women, COVID-19: Emerging Gender Data and Why it Matters, https://data.unwomen.org/resources/covid-19-emerging-gender-data-and-why-it-matters.

[This is a regularly-updated page]

Overview: ‘UN Women has been closely following the political and economic response to COVID-19 and how it is impacting women and girls. We are working with partners to bridge the gender data gap and deliver a more accurate picture of the gender dimension to the response so that it can be more effective for women and girls. As more gender data is produced and disaggregated, we will make it available here.

Resource: A Gendered Human Rights Analysis of Ebola and Zika

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Sara E. Davies and Belinda Bennett, A Gendered Human Rights Analysis of Ebola and Zika: Locating Gender in Global Health Emergencies, International Affairs 92:5 (2016): 1041-1060.

Excerpt: ‘An effective global response to public health emergencies must engage with the rights and needs of affected women. The Ebola and Zika outbreaks provide tragic, important lessons that should not be forgotten as, it is to be hoped, these countries move towards containing the crisis. Access to essential health services during complex emergencies is determined not solely by the provision of care, but also by the status of human rights and equity in that society. The provision of health care and treatment requires understanding the conditions that determine gender-equitable health care.‘ (p.1060)

 

Resource: Push Aside the Panic: Thinking Bigger than Just a Health Response to COVID-19

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Alfred Makavore, Push Aside the Panic: Thinking Bigger than Just a Health Response to COVID-19CARE Failing Forward (audio podcast), 26 March 2020, https://careinternational.podbean.com/e/push-aside-the-panic-thinking-bigger-than-just-a-health-response-to-covid-19/.

Overview: ‘Alfred Makavore, a key responder in CARE’s Ebola response in Sierra Leone in 2014-2015, share’s lessons about how to improve our COVID-19 response. “At first, we thought it was just a clinical problem, and we treated it like that.” Alfred encourages teams to think beyond a clinical response, to understand what communities are facing, and to build trust. “We have to push aside the panic.” Engaging governments, setting up local coordination, and trusting field teams to make decisions are some of his key recommendations.

Resource: Girls’ Education and COVID-19

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Malala Fund, Girls’ Education and COVID-19: What Past Shocks Can Teach Us about Mitigating the Impact of Pandemics, 2020: Washington D.C.

Excerpt: ‘This paper uses insights from previous health and financial shocks to understand how the current global pandemic could affect girls’ education outcomes for years to come. It details how governments and international institutions can mitigate the immediate and longer-term effects of the pandemic on the most marginalised girls. The paper considers the 2014- 15 Ebola epidemic and the 2008 global financial crisis, which both have some parallels to the impact of COVID-19.

We find that marginalised girls are more at risk than boys of dropping out of school altogether following school closures and that women and girls are more vulnerable to the worst effects of the current pandemic. Drawing on data from the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, we estimate that approximately 10 million more secondary school-aged girls could be out of school after the crisis has passed, if dropouts increase by the same rate. Longer-term, poorer countries may struggle to provide sufficient financing for education, especially to support schools, teachers and students to fight reemergence of the virus and stay safe from indirect effects of further outbreaks.‘ (p.2)

‘TAKE CARE – NO BUT REALLY’: GENDER, LABOUR, AND CARE IN TIMES OF CRISIS

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Excerpts from an article by Asiya Islam, Junior Research Fellow at Newnham College, University of Cambridge.

A message with email signoffs adapted for use during the coronavirus pandemic has been doing the rounds, one of the many memes that this crisis has generated. The usual ‘Best’, ‘Sent from my iPhone’, and ‘Take care’ have been replaced by ‘Best (but could be better), ‘Sent from my living room’, and ‘Take Care – no but really’. It seems that, perhaps for the first time, people actually want to know the answer to ‘How are you?’ and that it is acceptable to venture past the cursory ‘I’m fine, thanks, and you?’ 

This change in the way we communicate with each other may have been prompted by a sense of unity in feeling lonely, anxious, and insecure. But perhaps this change is also a realisation, on a collective level, of what is absolutely essential to the survival and sustenance of society – care.

Ethic of care
When the things that distract us every day – the emails that need to be sent, the profits that need to be calculated, the booking that needs to be made at the new restaurant – are stripped back to make space to deal with a crisis, we may arrive at an awkward realisation. That as urgent as we may believe our everyday activities in times of ‘normalcy’ to be, they are indeed (quite literally) not matters of life and death. At this moment, people are thinking much more closely about provision of healthcare, neighbourhood support groups, manufacture of ventilators and masks, sanitation, food production, and delivery services. Is this what a society premised on the ethic of care look like?

Read the full article here

Asiya Islam, ‘TAKE CARE – NO BUT REALLY’: GENDER, LABOUR, AND CARE IN TIMES OF CRISIS, Discover Society, April 1, 2020