Gendered impacts of the Covid-19 crisis


Highlights of Session 6

The existence of a pandemic and the related control measures of lockdown have impacted people across the world. One of the key changes has been in the livelihoods and lives at home. Regular work has been disrupted, and those, especially in the informal economy, which is a bulk of the workforce in a country like India, have grappled with drops in income or drying up of work opportunities. While this has affected both men and women, within homes and families the pandemic has also caused changes in the way women’s work, home and care burdens as well as their health, nutrition and economic needs have been disrupted. The impact on all lives notwithstanding, the differential needs of women, particularly poor women, and the unrecognized burdens or increased vulnerabilities this causes, needs to be recognized and then addressed.

Panel Discussion on Gendered impacts of the COVID 19 crisis

Opening Remarks on Broader health impacts of COVID by Soumya Swaminathan

• Limited Sex and age disaggregated data + other factors which is reported on; invest in gender quality responses on men women and children

• Stringent lockdown measures with increased partner and domestic violence, services related to health disrupted, increased stress; mitigating measures important

• Women health workers kept in mind for designing training and person protective requirement with psycho social support

• Increasing inequities including care and social protection

Highlights of Remarks by Panelists

• Likely exacerbation of gender-based violence; Complaints of intimate partner violence – concern that data is sporadic

• Impact of COVID women not accessing anti natal services implications of population and reproductive health

• Pre-pandemic already 38% below five years stunted; 120 million can be pushed into deprivation and gender inequalities

• Covid reveals that children are least of priorities; decades of progress in malnutrition access to early learning centres threatened to be reversed

• India has high COVID-19 cases but sex-disaggregated data not yet reported to WHO

• Anganwadi workers need to be reassigned on duties and look at formal recognition

• UNICEF – emergency child benefit for most vulnerable families worth considering.

• Schools in rural areas displaced; children from low income become collateral damage and decades of progress and it must not be lost

• NEP could have been postponed to the current COVID times


Session Speakers 

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan,

Chief Scientist,

The World Health Organization of the UN, Geneva




Dr. Kezevino Aram,

President, Shanti Ashram, 

Coimbatore Community level responses to emergent health risks confronting women  




Prof. Nitya Rao,

Professor, Gender and Development University of East Anglia,

Norwich Impacts of Covid-19 on women’s work and food and nutrition security



Ms. Poonam Muttreja,

Executive Director,

Population Foundation of India, New Delhi 

Gender-based violence and women’s sexual and reproductive health



Dr. Avni Amin,

Scientist, Gender Team, Department of Reproductive Health and Research,

The World Health Organization of the UN, Geneva

Global Gender Impact of Covid-19