On 12 May 2020, ACCORD’s General Manager of Operations and Business Development, Ms. Pravina Makan-Lakha, attended the virtual roundtable meeting with African Ministers of Gender and Women Affairs under the theme: COVID-19 response and recovery – a gendered framework. The meeting was hosted by United Nations Women (UN Women) and the African Union (AU), in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The aim of the meeting was for African Ministers in charge of Gender and Women Affairs to follow up on the implementation of AU Guidelines on Gender-Responsive Responses to mitigate COVID-19 adverse effects on women and girls and to evaluate their efforts to flatten the curve.
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting women disproportionately. It poses a serious threat to women’s employment and livelihoods as it deepens pre-existing inequalities, and exposes fault lines in the broader social, political and economic systems. From access to health services, social protection and digital technologies, to significant rise of domestic violence and unpaid care work, the impact of COVID-19 is exacerbated for many women and girls around the world. Women with caring responsibilities, informal workers, low-income families and youth are among the hardest hit. During the meeting, best practices and lessons shared, in providing gender responsive strategy to the pandemic included that women in communities and civil society are playing a critical role in combating the pandemic, therefore the stimulus given to the private sector should also be extended to women who care for the sick, hold families together and carry the burden of care. Using the case of Ebola, when women are excluded, the capacity to respond effectively is reduced. It is, therefore, important to include the gender approach in responding to COVID-19 to ensure the gains made in the continent can be sustained. The roundtable was an important discussion for the UN Women, UNECA, AU Women and Gender Development (AUWGDD), AU Specialised Committee on Gender and Women Empowerment (AUSTC on GEWE), the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC), as well as other representatives from civil society to strategize collectively and share their experiences.
Participation in the event is relevant for ACCORD’s strategic goal to enhance the role of women to influence, participate equally and lead peace processes.