Gender Analysis of COVID-19 Outbreak in South Korea

A Common Challenge and Call for Action

Authored by: Saerom Kim, Jin-Hwan Kim, Yukyung Park et al.

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: COVID-19, Economic Participation, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: South Korea
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2020
Citation: Kim, Saerom et al. "Gender Analysis of COVID-19 Outbreak in South Korea: A Common Challenge and Call for Action." Health Education & Behavior 47, no. 4. August 2020.

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This study aims to analyze South Korea’s experience during the COVID-19 outbreak through a gendered lens. We briefly introduce the COVID-19 outbreak in Korea, scrutinize gendered vulnerability in contracting the virus, and then analyze the gendered aspects of the pandemic response in two phases: quarantine policy and mitigation policy. The authors elicit four lessons from the analysis. First, gender needs to be mainstreamed at all stages of a public health emergency response. Second, in addition to medical care, all formal and informal care work should be considered as an essential component of health care systems. Third, a people-centered approach in health governance should be prioritized to make women’s voices heard at every level. Fourth, medical technology and resources to cope with pandemic should be produced and distributed in an equitable manner, acknowledging differential vulnerability and susceptibility.