United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned against the reversal of “limited but important” progress made on gender equality and women’s rights due to COVID-19 pandemic. While launching a report on the impact of COVID-19, Guterres said that the pandemic has affected different groups of people differently and deepened existing inequalities.
“Early data indicates that the mortality rates from COVID-19 may be higher for men. But the pandemic is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls,” said the UN Secretary-General in a statement on the official website.
Guterres highlighted that nearly 60 per cent of women around the world work in the informal sector and are at greater risk of falling into poverty as they earn less leading to lesser savings. He added that the pandemic has led to a loss in paid employment for women and an increase in unpaid care work due to school closures and the needs of older people.
“These currents are combining as never before to defeat women’s rights and deny women’s opportunities,” said the UN chief.
Guterres urged the governments to put women and girls at the centre of their to recover from the pandemic and called for equal representation and greater decision-making power. He recommended the expansion of social security nets and valuation of unpaid care work as a vital contribution to the economy.
The UN Secretary-General took the opportunity to again highlight the horrifying global surge in violence against women amid COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Guterres called upon governments around the world to take steps in order to curb domestic violence cases that have witnessed a surge.
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their homes,” said Guterres in a statement.
The UN chief made an appeal for “peace at home” around the world emphasising that lockdowns and quarantines are necessary for suppressing the coronavirus, however, it can trap women with abusive partners. Guterres urged the government around the world to redress violence against women as a key part of their national response plan for COVID-19.
(Image Credit: AP)