GFC joins calls for gender equality in response to COVID-19

April 29, 2020 | Campaigns, GFC & Partner Updates

Global Fund for Children is proud to join a growing list of over 500 organizations calling for girls, women, and gender equality to be at the center of coronavirus preparedness, response, and recovery.

Initiated by the Deliver for Good Campaign, the open letter urges global decision-makers to approach COVID-19 with a gender lens to ensure an equitable response and a long-term recovery that does not deepen gender disparities.

The letter calls for a gender lens to promote inclusive decision-making; uphold girls’ and women’s rights; support survivors of gender-based violence; provide sustained, equitable, and quality education; and support economic justice and resilience for women.

Read the full letter and join the campaign here.

In Kolkata, India, before the pandemic lockdown, youth leaders from GFC alumni partner Prayasam conducted hand-washing workshops throughout the community. © Prayasam

“A gender lens helps us understand the extent to which the pandemic is affecting women, men, girls, and boys differently and to anticipate its long-lasting impacts as it shapes power dynamics in societies and homes. It helps us create more effective and equitable policies and responses,” said Rodrigo Barraza, Program Officer for the Americas, who leads GFC’s initiatives focused on gender and masculinity in the region.

Public health crises impact girls and women disproportionately. Early into physical distancing and lockdowns, alarming reports emerged of children and women in isolation who are not safe at home and who no longer have access to their support networks and protection systems. In many communities, the majority of nurses, caregivers, and low-wage workers are women who are the on the frontlines of the crisis.

Advocates for girls and women fear the COVID-19 pandemic may deepen systems of inequality and erode significant progress on gender equality around the world.

A woman wearing a medical face mask stands behind hand sanitizer and emergency supplies.
In Honduras, GFC partner Un Mundo distributes masks and hand sanitizer during information sessions on the risks of COVID-19. © Un Mundo

Education is one area where this risk is highly evident. Due to school closures, an estimated 743 million girls are now out of school around the world, and it is urgent to ensure they can continue to access quality education.

“As countries recover from lockdowns and school closures, it’s important for governments and school systems to recognize that girls’ successful return to school will require a comprehensive approach and partnership with trusted community-based organizations. Girls are at a greater risk for gender-based violence, early marriage, and adolescent pregnancy that may prevent them from continuing their studies after the pandemic,” said Daniela Martinez Moreno, Capacity Development Specialist, who coordinates GFC’s Empowering Adolescent Girls project.

GFC is working with its partners around the world to respond to urgent community needs and develop long-term recovery plans that further gender equity.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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