More than 400 feminist organizations and 700 individuals across the globe released a joint statement today outlining how governments can bolster equality in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement calls on governments to uphold human rights standards in its pandemic response and center marginalized communities that have been disproportionally affected by the disease. The outlined policy proposals focus on nine areas of focus: food security, healthcare, education, social inequality, water and sanitation, economic inequality, violence against women, access to information, and abuse of power.
The signatories recognize that the pandemic imposes additional burdens on already vulnerable populations as support systems are compromised, people lose income, and stress increases. Especially for women, the unequal distribution of domestic responsibilities is now threatening their ability to work or attend school. Increased isolation and quarantine measures also place women and children at greater risk of domestic violence.
The document urges governments around the world to provide accessible resources to marginalized communities. The proposed measures include increasing financial support, disseminating of information in accessible formats and languages, securing public services, and collecting disaggregated data on the pandemic’s effects on women.
While guidelines in the statement can inform government actions, the statement does not replace the need for engaging women and other marginalized communities in decision-making processes.