ANKARA 

The global economic and social response to the novel coronavirus has “largely overlooked” the needs of women, data from a UN tracker showed Tuesday.

The newly launched tracker by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women, analyzed government measures by gender “in three areas: those that tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG), support unpaid care, and strengthen women’s economic security.”

It showed 42 countries, 20% of those analyzed, have no gender-sensitive measures in their virus response, while 25 countries, or 12%, have introduced measures that cover all three areas.

“The COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity for countries to transform existing economic models towards a renewed social contract that prioritizes social justice and gender equality,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “This new gender response tracker can help accelerate policy reform by guiding on gaps in national efforts and funding and highlighting best practices.”

The governments have primarily focused on VAWG measures, which was 71% of all actions identified across 135 countries, and 63% focused on strengthening essential services, according to the data.

Only 48 countries, however, saw VAWG-related services as an integral part of their pandemic response, while only very few sufficiently funded those measures.

The track uncovered that global social protection, care crisis and jobs response “has been largely blind to women’s needs,” with only 177 measures — 10% of total measures — across 85 countries aimed to strengthen women’s economic security.

Meanwhile, less than one-third of countries took action to support unpaid care and care services for children, older persons or persons with disabilities.

“It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting women hard – as victims of domestic violence locked down with their abusers, as unpaid caregivers in families and communities, and as workers in jobs that lack social protection,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women executive director.

The tracker investigated 2,500 measures from 206 countries and territories.

Originated in Wuhan, China last December, the pandemic has affected nearly 33.5 million worldwide and killed more than 1 million people, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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