WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) re-introduced a 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.  

 

During the 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 three 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, education and economic security threatening to reverse decades of gains for women," said Senator Booker. “Developing a comprehensive international response to COVID-19 requires that we acknowledge, address and work to end the inequities and disparities that disproportionately harm the safety, health and economic security of women here at home and across the world.”

 

“This pandemic has taken an outsized toll on women across the world as the health care, including reproductive health care, they need has become harder to get, economic security has become harder to attain, and gender-based violence has become more prevalent,” said Senator Murray. “We won’t fully recover from this pandemic until women recover—so we must address the specific health and economic burdens that women have experienced during this unprecedented time. And we cannot lose sight of the fact that this pandemic has only revealed and exacerbated the deep inequities that women have long faced, and must recommit to supporting women and girls and building a world where they can thrive.”

 

“From an uptick in gender-based violence to a growing lack of access to health care and education, women and girls across the globe are too often bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Wyden. “ The United States has a moral obligation to address the barriers faced by women and girls who are doing their best to keep their families and communities safe throughout this crisis. That means ensuring their wellbeing is at the forefront of a global approach to tackle COVID-19.”

 

Specifically, the resolution will do the following: 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  • Support 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. 

 

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

 

  • Urge 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. 

 

  • Support 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. 

 

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

 

The following organizations have endorsed the resolution: CARE USA, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, Seeds to Sew International, Women’s Action for New Directions, CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity), Together for Girls, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, The International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), GreeneWorks, Girl Up Initiative Uganda, Vital Voices Global Partnership, American Jewish World Service, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Organization for Women, Amnesty International USA, Friends of UNFPA, International Rescue Committee, John Snow Inc. (JSI), World Education Inc., Landesa, Expanding Lives, Ujima Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community, Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs, Shadhika, Zonta International, Just Like My Child Foundation, Guttmacher Institute, Expanding Lives, Heartland Alliance International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, Futures Without Violence, Last Mile4D, Advocates for Youth, Girl Rising, Project Concern International, Global Communities, International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Women's Refugee Commission, PAI, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Clearinghouse on Women's Issues, Oxfam America, Save the Children US, Refugee International.

 

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

 

 

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