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Women are Missing from Covid-19 Task Forces Worldwide. That’s a Problem

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in Covid-19 task forces around the world, according to the United Nations. And that’s a big problem that could hamper recovery from the pandemic for women.

A lack of representation means that the specific issues women faced during the pandemic may get overlooked. Women make up just 24% of the members across 225 Covid-19 task forces in 137 countries analyzed by the UN In 26 countries, women are not part of task forces at all. And only eight countries have gender parity on their task forces.

The data comes as more is becoming known at the pandemic’s impact on women. In the U.S., women carried more job losses compared to men, and were more likely to reduce or cut their work hours to spend more time with household responsibilities and childcare than men. In fact, the hit to employment for women has been so severe that workforce participation has recessed to figures last seen in the 1980s.

Without women on these task forces, there is potential for countries to ignore these exacerbated impacts to women globally, delaying recovery.

“Women have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, making up 70[%] of health care workers globally,” Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator, said in a statement. “However, they have been systematically excluded from the decision-making processes on how to address the impacts of the pandemic.”

Already, gaps are apparent in recovery efforts. Only a small percentage of Covid-19 labor market measures actually target women’s economic security, and most recovery efforts have been small and temporary, the UN contends. Most gender-related measures have focused on preventing or responding to violence against women and girls.

“Women’s full and inclusive participation in public institutions is critical to ensure their needs are adequately addressed in the pivotal decisions now being made–these are choices that will determine their futures for generations to come,” Steiner said.

See all the findings here.

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