Gendered implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for policies and programmes in humanitarian settings

Authored by: Sarah Fuhrman, Anushka Kalyanpur, Susannah Friedman, et al

Categories: Global Public Health
Sub-Categories: COVID-19, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Year: 2020
Citation: Fuhrman, Sarah, et al. “Gendered Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Policies and Programmes in Humanitarian Settings.” BMJ Global Health 5, no. 5 (May 2020).

Access the Resource:

Executive Summary

Although preliminary analysis indicates that COVID-19 poses the highest risk to men, the elderly, and those with comorbidities, available research on the gendered implications of past public health emergencies—such as that from the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak—demonstrates that women and girls are disproportionately affected, particularly those who live in ongoing humanitarian crises. The authors’ experiences in previous humanitarian and public health emergencies indicated a need for practical, gender-sensitive recommendations for humanitarian practitioners that uphold the rights of affected populations. Consequently, they conducted a rapid analysis of the potential policy and programmatic implications of COVID-19 on women and girls. Their findings indicate that the pandemic will affect every aspect of the lives of women and girls. Their health will suffer, and they will have increased needs for protection, sanitation, shelter, education, food and livelihood support in the short term and long term. These findings informed recommendations that include: support women’s and girls’ leadership to ensure that COVID-19 prevention and control measures do not exacerbate harmful norms; bolster water, sanitation and hygiene services along with psychosocial support, essential health services, safe shelter and the provision of food, nutrition and hygiene commodities; prepare to respond to possible surges in gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse; and ensure that vulnerable populations are included in national surveillance, preparedness and response plans and activities.