Recent data show that the Covid-19 pandemic is deepening the pre-existing gender inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic on women and girls’ lives. According to the OECD’s report on the Covid-19 crisis response in MENA countries, a large proportion of women work in the manufacturing sector, which is expected to be among the most severely hit by the crisis. Many women in the MENA region are employed in micro and small enterprises and risk losing their job due to the health crisis. UN Women estimates that women in the Arab world will lose approximately 700,000 jobs as a result of the outbreak.
Traditional social norms, along with self-isolation measures and movement restrictions, are expected to exacerbate women’s exposure to domestic violence. A recent study of the JRC points out that in EU countries Covid-19 also poses new and imminent challenges to gender equality due to gender segregation in many employment sectors and occupations, unequal distribution of unpaid work such as household chores and care, as well as the most brutal manifestation of gender inequality: violence against women.
The 5th High-level UfM Women Conference this year will join the international community to further analyse the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on women and girls, to highlight the key role played by women in addressing the pandemic and most importantly, to work with policy makers and stakeholders on concrete solutions and policy orientations for the post-pandemic recovery that preserve and respect women and girls’ rights. It also aims at identifying how to better value the role of women and foster women’s participation and leadership in policy and decision-making processes to address the pandemic.
The conference will witness the launching of the UfM Institutional Ministerial follow-up mechanism and its indicators which will be adopted this year by the UfM Member States. The indicators will allow to monitor and measure gender equality progress in the Euro-Mediterranean region for the coming years and provide policy and action-oriented recommendations to close the gender gap.
The conference will be a hybrid event with a combination of physical sessions in Barcelona and online sessions. However, in light of ongoing COVID-19 developments, the entire event may be held virtually. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THE CONFERENCE WEBSITE.