- Friday | 08 May, 2020
- Sana Malik, Khansa Naeem
- COVID-19 Policy Review Series
Introduction Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in late 2019 in the Wuhan city of China has directly and indirectly affected each and every sphere of life across the world. Till date it has affected more than 3.9 million people with a death toll of 270,740 the world over. Coping with a pandemic medically is hard, but more difficult is to come out of the fear and panic it has causes and can cause to the victims. However, the fear caused by potentially falling victims to the disease can itself be an overwhelming experience as it stirs up people’s emotions and sensitivities. Women are mostly the victims of such sensitivities. According to the Lancet report (2020), there has not been any gender analysis of the pandemic by any government of health organization or any estimates of potential victims in preparedness phases. Plan International (2020) highlights that the COVID-19 has interrupted our way of life and has further disrupted individuals, families and communities putting them under stress of health and economic burdens. However, there are other reasons of stress caused by the COVID-19. In times when social isolation and distancing practices are being applied, there are increased risks of violence against women, their abuse, exploitation and neglect. Past evidences inform us that diseases outbreak affected men and women differently in their day-to-day activities. Whilst there are primary effects of the pandemic, there are secondary impacts as well, which are often missed out in policy discussions, but which have deeper social and political implications. These implications are even more difficult to understand and resolve when sex-disaggregated data is missing or incomplete. Unfortunately, affected countries have still not released their national sex disaggregated data, which is seriously hampering the creative planning or preparatory efforts in a gender-sensitive manner (Sandoiu 2020). Thus, it is of sheer importance that governments must recognize the extent of damage caused by the COVID-19 to appreciate how does the pandemic affect women and men as a fundamental step towards tackling the primary and secondary effects through equitable policies and interventions......