WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced S.Res762a resolution recognizing the disproportionate impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on women and girls globally. Specifically, the resolution urges Congress and the executive branch to protect the rights of women and girls in the United States and abroad, provide robust humanitarian aid that supports women and girls, and ensure that the needs of women and girls are part of the ongoing international response to the COVID–19 crisis.  

 

It is now understood that COVID-19 is widening systemic inequalities that have historically affected women and girls. Due to this pandemic, gender-based violence such as domestic violence, child marriage, and female genital mutilation has increased, and is expected to continue to increase. An additional 13,000,000 child marriages are expected by 2030, in addition to an increase of approximately 2,000,000 cases of female genital mutilation between 2020 and 2030. Women also comprise 70 percent of health care workers globally, yet often are not prioritized for the receipt of personal protective equipment, disproportionately exposing them to contracting COVID–19. Women and girls also perform 3 times the amount of unpaid care work in homes and in their communities as men - a burden that has increased during the COVID–19 crisis as women and girls are disproportionately responsible for caring for sick and elderly family and community members and children who are out of school-- limiting the ability of women and girls to perform income generating work, pursue education or skills building, or avoid exposure to COVID–19.

 

"COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the existing structural inequities facing women and girls globally, from increases in gender-based violence to worsening gender based disparities in lack of access to healthcare and economic security," said Senator Booker. “To develop a comprehensive international response to COVID-19 requires that we acknowledge, address and work to end the existing gender-based inequities and disparities that disproportionately harm the safety, health and economic security of women here at home and across the world.”

 

“We know from experience that when crisis hits, women often bear the brunt of the burden—and it’s already painfully clear that COVID-19 is no exception,” said Senator Murray. “This pandemic has been particularly hard on women across the world as the health and reproductive care they need has become harder to get, economic security has become harder to attain, and gender-based violence has become more prevalent. It’s important to families and communities across the world that we don’t lose sight of this critical fact, and that we support women and girls directly as they face the fallout from this crisis in so many ways.”

 

“COVID-19 has laid bare and worsened some of the existing inequalities around the world. Women and girls are facing disproportionate economic insecurity and an uncertain future. To build forward towards a more equitable world it is essential to recognize how the pandemic affects women and girls and put them at the center of our global responses,” said CARE USA CEO and President Michelle Nunn. “Women need to be included in the solutions and their voices must be heard. We thank Senator Booker and Senator Murray for pushing this resolution forward as it brings critical attention to the particular ways in which the pandemic is affecting women’s health, safety, and rights in the long term.”

 

The resolution: 

 

  • Reaffirms the critical importance of gender inclusion, specifically in task forces charged with developing policies related to the COVID–19 crisis.

 

  • Promotes integrating a gender lens throughout the response to the COVID–19, specifically when analyzing and tracking data. 

 

  • Supports life-saving health services such as sexual and reproductive health, including those in the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, are well-funded and protected.

 

  • Supports measures to ensure the continuation of adequate food and nutrition security for women and girls around the world affected by COVID–19, including women in agriculture who face unique challenges. 

 

  • Reinforces the need for both short-term relief and long-term strategies to address the effects of COVID-19 on marginalized women globally.

 

  • Urges the executive branch to uphold the rights of women and girls globally by promoting and complying with international humanitarian and human rights legal obligations to ensure access to health care, medical supplies, and other vital aid and protection. 

 

  • Supports robust funding contributions, including ongoing humanitarian appeals in support of women and girls affected by COVID–19, by the United States for the international response to the pandemic. 

 

  • Commits to continuously assess and eliminate any barriers to the delivery and access of humanitarian assistance.

 

 

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

 

 

 

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