A new report by seven organizations, including the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) and the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has revealed that very few women were given opportunities at decision-making levels in the fight against COVID-19.
The report was primarily to assess the impact of the global crisis on women in West Africa.
According to the report, the situation cuts across the West African sub-region.
It also found that the vulnerabilities of women were exacerbated by the pandemic, exposing them further to gender-based violence.
Other findings of the report were the loss of financial incomes to women and the limited access to basic health services and education.
Read the detailed findings below:
- The loss of their financial incomes,
- The limitation of their access to basic services, including healthcare and education;
The increase in their vulnerabilities, including gender-based violence;
- The increase in food insecurity, which already is and will specifically impact women;
- Their weak representation and participation in the decision-making spaces about the management of the crisis;
- Their limited access to information about the crisis;
And the impact of existing social norms on exacerbating these inequalities, even though the current crisis can become an opportunity to change these norms.
As the pandemic lingers on, the WILDAF and its partners recommended that women inclusion must be prioritized while deliberate support systems are created to help women navigate the pandemic.
These include an immediate plan by regional governments to quickly tackle the food crisis which is threatening West Africa.
The report said the implemented measures should be targeted at both the urban and rural levels and that information about existing measures be made accessible to all.
Also, Authorities in partnership with healthcare providers are urged to set up COVID-19 information sessions targeting women in order for them to access quality and reliable information about the virus.
In order to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic on women, the groups are advocating the provision of emergency and recovery funds for women cooperatives and those working in the informal sector.