The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time. Since its emergence late last year, the virus has spread to every continent. In response to the global health, social and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented measures have been taken by local and national governments: from preventive social distancing to the restriction of movement of people ; border closures; the confinement of entire cities, regions and countries; the temporary closure of formal and informal economic activities, etc. The daily lives of people have been dramatically disrupted, as has the economic, social and productive fabric that sustains societies.

Analysis of the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the policy responses required cannot be done without the integration of a gender perspective. Beyond the distinct biological responses brought about by the disease, gender norms and cultural patterns determine the roles women and men play in a society in response to crisis, as well as the differentiated impacts they experience. Additional elements associated with situations of security and violence, health responses, access to resources and livelihoods, and the territorial, social and economic environment determine the depth of these impacts.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the most unequal region in the world, and as such is more vulnerable to a socioeconomic crisis arising from the spread of COVID-19. Poverty also has gender dimensions. While in 2002 the femininity index for households in poverty rose to 105 women per 100 men; in 2017 that number increased to 113 women for every 100 men. Extreme poverty also exhibited a similar trend, from 108 women for every 100 men in extreme poverty in 2002 to 116 women per 100 men in 2017(ECLAC, 2019).

The feminist economy and the gender and intersectionality perspective seek to place the sustainability of life and solidarity at the core. Thus, the integration of this perspective is necessary and urgent in the design of social measures and economic packages that respond to the crisis.

This is also an opportunity to promote sustainable long-term investments for universal and resilient health systems, social protection and care systems, as well as the development of active employment and economic recovery policies, with inclusive growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability at the core, based on social dialogue and effective governance.

UNDP Response

Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. UNDP, as part of the United Nations System will support countries in each stage, focusing on their most vulnerable populations. Thus, contributing to making responses to the COVID19 emergency gender-responsive, with the goal of leaving no one behind.

UNDP has established three offers for the three immediate priorities:

  • Offer N°1: Health Systems Support
  • Offer N°2: Inclusive and Integrated Crisis Management and Response
  • Offer N°3: Social and Economic Impact Needs Assessment and Response

  • COVID-19 AND GENDER: UNDP Offers for Country Support

    Offer N°1: Health Systems Support

    The development of inclusive and resilient health systems demands the integration of a gender perspective, one that identifies the differentiated needs of both women and men. Gender responsive recommendations outlined in the “Briefing Note: The Economic Impacts Of Covid-19 And Gender Inequality - Recommendations For Policymakers” complement the tools and guidelines provided by WHO and UNDP.

    Offer N°2: Inclusive and Integrated Crisis Management and Response

    A rapid and inclusive management of the crisis to respond to the COVID-19 should be based on coordinated action and integration from different actors, sectors and levels of governance. Past experiences of crisis management during conflicts or disasters have proven that the inclusion of women’s voices and concerns in decision making processes increases the effectiveness of the response. Furthermore, crisis management should give priority and rapid attention to the most vulnerable.

    Offer N°3: Social and Economic Impact Needs Assessment and Response

    Development of measures that guarantee the universality of social protection and social policies and access to basic services, such as those aimed at irrigating the economy more liquidly, subsidies or transfers focused on specific sectors seriously affected by the crisis, financial stimulus measures through credits, insurance and guarantees, and in fiscal reliefs that can give a break to the most affected sectors, especially micro, small and medium-sized companies. All these measures should be connected to financing strategies aligned with the broader efforts of governments to finance the SDGs and be aimed at halting possible setbacks in the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda.

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