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Women and Girls

Women and girls are heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Women tend to have the most precarious and less well-paid jobs, putting them more at risk of income loss and economic hardship. Women are on the frontline as they represent 70% of the health and social workforce. Quarantine measures imposed as a response to the pandemic are exacerbating women’s and girls’ caretaking responsibilities due to traditional gender roles. Confinement also puts women and girls at heightened risk of domestic and sexual violence, including early and unintended pregnancy and early and forced marriage, with little or no access to essential protection services and social networks.

Challenges with accessing sexual and reproductive health services – including contraception, safe abortion, maternal healthcare and HIV medications – and the scaling down of some health services, including community-based services, further exacerbate the risks to girls’ and women’s health and lives. SRHR services are essential, emergency and potentially life-saving services and must continue to be provided during the crisis.

Authorities must recognise that the outbreak affects women and girls disproportionately and that if adequate measures are not taken, there is a serious risk of losing the progress made over women’s and girls’ rights. All responses to the crisis must adopt an intersectional and gender-sensitive response to the crisis and women and girls must be part of all decision-making processes to ensure their perspectives are heard and needs are met.

Center for Reproductive Rights

End FGM European Network

EuroMed Rights

FIDH

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

IPPF European Network

HRW

Plan International