11 Aug 2021

COVID-19: the turning point for gender equality

The Lancet Senait Fisseha, Gita Sen, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Winnie...+14 more
The Lancet
Senait Fisseha, Gita Sen, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Winnie Byanyima, Debora Diniz ,Henrietta H Fore, Natalia Kanem, Ulrika Karlsson, Rajat Khosla, Laura Laski, Dina Mired, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Tlaleng Mofokeng, Geeta Rao Gupta, Achim Steiner, Michelle Remme, and Pascale Allotey.
45 mins
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What you'll learn
COVID-19 has catalysed a need for concrete action on gender inequality

The gendered impacts of power, intersectionality, social, legal, and commercial determinants on health are foregrounded in public forums and can no longer be ignored.

  • In this commentary, heads of UN agencies, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, and civil society experts commit to leveraging the full power of their collective influence, access, and resources to turn the #COVID19 crisis into an opportunity for gender equality.
  • Further information of the four commitments made by UN agencies to tackle gender inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impacts of the pandemic have gone far beyond the disease itself
The UN is where the technical meets the political.

UN agencies have a key leadership role in working with partners to bring evidence-based solutions together and to promote healthy living and wellbeing for all as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A woman wearing a mask and traditional Asian clothes, packing plastic bags on a motorcycle for work.

There is growing acknowledgement by governments that political leadership is required for key decisions about investments in health to ensure social protection and financial recovery, targeting disadvantaged populations to ensure equity, and engaging with broader geopolitical challenges that impact health.

Key Commitments
Institutional Capacity
Institutional Capacity

To reinforce and sustain the institutional capacity to deliver gender equality by increasing gender expertise in health, especially at senior levels.

Sex-disaggregated data is a priority
Sex-disaggregated data is a priority

Obtaining sex-disaggregated data from programmes and member states for priority health indicators.

Feminist civil society involvement
Feminist civil society involvement

Leverage the expertise and capacity of feminist civil society to support design, implementation, and monitoring of health policies, programmes and community-centred solutions.

Key partnerships with social justice movements
Key partnerships with social justice movements

Tackle gender and intersecting inequalities by joining forces with other social justice movements -like the movement for vaccine equity- by calling for immediate sharing of knowledge, transfer of technological know-how, scale-up of manufacturing, and the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, as well as responding to gender-related barriers during vaccine deployment.

A mother with her son walking near a red and white wall, while they are wearing masks to protect themselves from COVID.

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    1. Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, Omaha, NE, USA (SF)
    2. Public Health Foundation of India, Bangalore, India (GS)
    3. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (TAG)
    4. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Geneva, Switzerland (WB)
    5. Brown University, Providence, RI, USA (DD)
    6. UNICEF, New York, NY, USA (HHF)
    7. United Nations Population Fund, New York, NY, USA (NK)
    8. Inter-Parliamentary Union, Stockholm, Sweden (UK)
    9. Amnesty International, London, UK (RK)
    10. Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, New York, NY, USA (LL)
    11. Union for International Cancer Control, Amman, Jordan (DM)
    12. UN Women, New York, NY, USA (PM-N)
    13. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Johannesburg, South Africa (TM)
    14. United Nations Foundation, Washington, DC, USA (GRG)
    15. United Nations Development Programme, New York, NY, USA (AS)
    16. United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, UKM Medical Centre, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (MR, PA)
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