Authored by: Ume Laila Azhar

COVID-19 crisis and women in Asia: Reflections from COVID-19 and the prospects for gender justice in Pakistan

During the first quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, workers around the globe were severely affected by the rapid shift in circumstances, in particular the countrywide lockdowns. In all countries, women and girls had to bear a greater share of the burden as their jobs were disrupted while duties at home increased. Many found themselves vulnerable to abuse and gender-based violence (GBV) behind closed doors and isolated from any support mechanisms. Additionally, women working in non-essential service industries such as food service, hospitality and domestic work (housekeeping and childcare) were more likely to be laid off or exploited during the pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Homebased workers, a significant portion of the informal workforce, experienced multidimensional uncertainties due to the absence of social protection schemes for them, financial insecurity and unprecedented economic vulnerability. These effects of lockdown were more acute in least developed, developing, and emerging economies, where they exacerbated existing gender and income inequalities. This paper aims to understand how women are affected differently than men in crisis situation ad individuals and communities, with a focus on the pandemic’s impact on their livelihoods. It highlights the importance of understanding the severity of differential impacts pandemic and other crises can have on women. The paper is based on an extensive desk research of relevant studies that takes stock of the impact of the pandemic on women and girls and presents a comprehensive snapshot. This paper call for an intersectional genderbased policy approach to address the vulnerabilities of women and girls and to protect them from the economic, psychological and physical impacts of the pandemic and post-pandemic periods.

COVID-19 crisis and women in Asia

Azhar, Ume Laila

COVID-19 crisis and women in Asia

Reflections from COVID-19 and the prospects for gender justice in Pakistan
Kathmandu, 2023

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