Women's development under threat: China shares gender-inclusive responses to COVID-19
Updated 13:58, 06-Aug-2020

With money and resources preferentially reallocated to deal with the pandemic, progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially hard-fought gains for women's rights, have already come under threat, representatives from 11 countries warned during a virtual meeting hosted by UN Women on Wednesday. They urged countries to bring the implementation of SDG back on track guided by gender equality priorities.

The coronavirus has brought profound shocks to societies and economies. In times of crisis like this, women and girls face disproportionate impacts, especially those who live in poverty and areas hit by conflict and emergencies.

In Africa, due to COVID-19, agriculture, one of the most important sectors of women's activities, has been significantly affected. And worldwide, domestic violence against women and girls has increased dramatically. Women face heavier burdens on care and domestic work due to school closures and social distancing measures; they also lack representatives in national and global health leadership despite making up 70 percent of the world's health and social workers, according to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN under-secretary-general and UN Women executive director.

In general, women "disproportionally work in insecure, lower-paid, part-time and informal employment with little or no income security and social protection," making them more vulnerable to a crisis like this, Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

Huang Xiaowei, vice-president of the All-China Women's Federation, speaks during the UN Women virtual meeting. /All-China Women's Federation

Huang Xiaowei, vice-president of the All-China Women's Federation, speaks during the UN Women virtual meeting. /All-China Women's Federation

China shared the efforts made by Chinese women in epidemic control and its gender-inclusive responses to COVID-19 on the virtual meeting themed Ensuring Progress Towards SDG 5 Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic – From Response to Recovery: Experiences from China and Global Partners.

Huang Xiaowei, deputy director of the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council and vice-president of the All-China Women's Federation, said unity and cooperation are the best weapons to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

China has contained the coronavirus by reducing confirmed cases to single digits. Huang said that one of the key factors contributing to the success of the country's efforts is the whole-of-society approach that has mobilized women and men across key sectors to respond to the pandemic.

She said China's experience has demonstrated that when women are mobilized and given the space and opportunity to demonstrate their leadership, they can play a critical role in effective response and recovery,

Huang added that China will also help women and children in other countries within its capability and will soon send epidemic control supplies to these fragile groups in 53 countries. She called on other countries to strengthen cooperation to jointly achieve gender equality and the all-round development of women amid the pandemic.