The impact of COVID-19 on women and girls in the Global South and its policy implications
Women and girls worldwide are affected by multiple crises: Conflicts, the climate crisis, COVID-19 and hunger. The recent outbreak of the war in Ukraine has tremendous effects on the population in Eastern Europe. It might even lead to increasing food insecurities and possible hunger crises in North African countries due to their dependence on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine and rising energy prices - while they are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. Once again vulnerable groups suffer the most.
Regarding the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in countries of the so-called Global South, the pandemic has disproportionately pushed women out of employment, decreased their livelihoods and income generation for their families. This has led to rising levels of poverty, hunger and social inequalities. Gender based domestic violence has increased. Women and girls have also taken on the brunt of additional unpaid care work at home. Barriers to access adequate maternal healthcare have led to worse health outcomes for women, e.g. high-risk pregnancies and complications at birth. Due to carework obligations, girls were more often taken out of school than boys and also the risk of (forced) child marriage has increased. Children are falling behind in education due to a long period of closed schools and childcare facilities during lockdowns or due to lack of access to online lessons and materials.
These social and economic effects on women and girls have caused a heavy backlash against women`s rights and gender equality. Moreover, the UN warns that the world is not on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and in some cases, decades of progress have been reversed. At the same time, governments in the Global South have fewer options to tackle the social and economic challenges and encounter limited financial resources to address the impact of the pandemic and facilitate inclusive and sustainable recovery.
About the event
Join Global Responsibility and its partners for a conversation with discussants from the Global South perspective about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls and resulting policy implications. Women representing civil society organisations from African and Eastern European countries will share their experiences and an analysis of the social and economic effects of the pandemic on women's empowerment and gender equality. Based on these real-life accounts of women, various stakeholders working in development cooperation and policy will discuss how Austrian international development actors can support recovery and sustainable and inclusive development in these regions.
Guiding questions for the online event
What social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are women and girls experiencing in the Global South and what are the reasons for women being more effected than men by the consequences of the pandemic? What differences can be found amongst countries, regions and groups of society, specifically focusing on ways how to decrease vulnerability and increase resilience? What programmes were developed and what kind of measures were implemented by civil society organisations? What options do governments in the Global South have to counteract the socio-economic crises? How can government actors, both national and international, incl. development agencies, identify policy options to better support women and girls and foster women's rights? How can Austrian development policy support conditions for an inclusive recovery and sustainable development as well as higher resilience of vulnerable groups in crises?
These are some of the questions that discussants from the Global South, Austrian development cooperation and academia will discuss in two separate panels. The online event will include opening remarks by the director of Global Responsibility, which will be followed by a key-note speaker representing a civil society women's network.
Programme (to be updated continuously)
Opening remarks: Annelies Vilim, Director, Global Responsibility
Keynote speech: Âurea Mouzinho, Co-founder and co-coordinator, Ondjango Feminista, Angola
First panel discussion - Perspectives from the Global South:
Ina Girard, Project manager, Austrian Red Cross, Georgia
Janepher Taaka, Expert on gender and gender based violence, Uganda
Ilauda Manala, Communication manager, Light for the World, Mozambique
Clarisse Konombo, Project manager, Caritas (OCADES), Burkina Faso
Second panel discussion - Policy options: Representatives of Austrian development cooperation and academia
Moderation: The event will be moderated by Rita Isiba, Engagement Specialist, Aphropean Partners
Language: English and French with simultaneous interpretation
Registration: Please register via this link. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link for entering the event which is supported by SpaceWatch.Global.
The conference will be recorded for the purpose of documentation. By participating in the event, you agree to the publication of photos and video clips made during the event.
A link to the video recording of the event will be available in a report about the event on this website.