The WHO suggests that all countries should adopt the following general measures in relation to considering gender within their COVID-19 response strategies:

  • COVID-19 cases and deaths must be disaggregated by sex and age. Disaggregated data should also be sought on the differential adverse health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on women and men. The findings of such analysis should be used to fine-tune response policies.
  • Countries should include responses to violence against women, and particularly intimate partner violence, as an essential service within the COVID-19 response.
  • Countries should maintain the availability of, and equitable access to, sexual and reproductive health services and to include them in the essential package of health services for the COVID-19 response.
  • Countries are encouraged to ensure that all front-line health and social workers and caregivers have equitable access to training, PPE and other essential products, psychosocial support and social protection, taking into account the specific needs of women who constitute the majority of such workers.
  • Countries are encouraged to remove financial and other barriers to COVID-19 testing and treatment services, making them free at the point of use as well as providing equitable access to other essential health services.
  • Countries are encouraged to provide access to safe water and sanitation facilities. This must be ensured in disadvantaged areas such as rural communities and informal settlements.
  • Countries are encouraged to provide safety nets to mitigate the adverse and inequitable social and economic impacts of the pandemic, including sick leave and unemployment benefits. These measures are key to support containment measures.
  • Countries are encouraged to stress that health is a human right, to ensure that emergency responses to COVID-19 are inclusive and nondiscriminatory, and to avoid excessive use of emergency powers to regulate day-to-day life. Countries should also take measures to identify and counter stigmatizing and discriminatory practices in COVID-19 responses.

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Editor’s notes

Author: Sian White
Reviewed by: Jane Wilbur,Bethany Caruso, Pryia Nath, Chelsea Huggett
Last updated: 01.06.2020

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