Photo: Maja Brand

Covid-19 and women’s rights

Crises always reinforce structural differences and injustices. The coronavirus pandemic will hit women especially hard, in particular in countries with widespread poverty, poor health care systems and non-existent social protection. Meanwhile, closed borders and curfews restrict the work for women's rights around the world.

Gender-based violence almost always increases in societies under stress and trauma. An economic crisis will also hit women particularly hard as more women than men have unsafe jobs, work part-time or in the informal sector. Another serious consequence of the crisis is how authoritarian regimes make use of the coronavirus pandemic and the extraordinary sanctions to strengthen their own power and shrink the democratic space for their citizens.

Shrinking democratic space during emergency measures

Several of the countries where Kvinna till Kvinna works have introduced state of emergency measures and extraordinary sanctions to limit the freedom of citizens, with the aim of hindering the spread of the new coronavuris.

“It is extremely important now and in the near future, for civil society organisations and the international community to monitor that these extraordinary measures are withdrawn as soon as possible when the acute crisis is over. There needs to be a strong pressure on authoritarian regimes to not give them an opportunity to use the pandemic as an excuse to limit even more the space for civil society and for women’s rights,” says Charlotte dos Santos Pruth, senior advocacy advisor at Kvinna till Kvinna.

Our partner A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights in Serbia, for example, has releasad a report which concludes that the harsh sanctions of the Serbian government created an atmosphere of uncertainty and unpredictability, and that there were more suitable measures that could have been used as a response to covid-19.

Download the report here »

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