Gender Equality


Across every sphere — from health to the economy, security to social protection — the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are disproportionately affecting women. The UN Secretary-General alerted the world that the crisis could even reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights in the past decades; however, the current crisis could also provide a rare chance to disrupt gender stereotypes, show that leadership and decision-making should be shared responsibilities and build back better and more gender-inclusive world.


  • 70 per cent of the healthcare workers risking their lives are women and infection rates among female health-care workers are up to 3 times higher than among their male counterparts.
  • Over a year since the beginning of the pandemic, still less than 1 in 5 of labour market and social protection measures enacted to tackle the COVID-19 crisis are gender sensitive. And according to our Target Gender Equality COVID-19 quiz, only 67% of companies have women actively informing their COVID-19 response and including them at the decision-making table.
  • Globally, female job loss rates resulting from COVID-19 are about 1.8 times higher than male job-loss rates. This translates into a higher unemployment rate for women at 5.7 percent, versus 3.1 percent for men. The global gender pay gap is stuck a 16% and will take 267 years to close, leaving women even more vulnerable to economic downturn.
  • Globally, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, around one third of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner; and 18% have experienced such violence in the past 12 months.
  • Women already do 3 times more unpaid care work as men. And now, due to the pandemic’s disproportionate burden, women are now spending 15 hours more each week in unpaid labor than men.
  • Workers in the informal economy lost as much as 60% of their income during the first month of the pandemic. About 740 million women work in the informal economy with few protections against dismissal and limited access to social protection.



  • Ensure women's representation and inclusion in all planning and decision making, specifically with COVID related policies and responses, to lead to better ESG performance.
  • Provide flexible working arrangements, as well as paid sick, family and emergency leave for parents and caretakers, keeping in mind that the majority of unpaid care work falls to women.
  • Help address the unintended consequences of stay at home measures, including the alarming increase in domestic violence; for example, direct employees to needed services, including domestic violence hotlines.
  • Support employment and income protection for women across the value chain.
  • Honor existing contracts with women-owned businesses, support their recovery and engage them as supply chains are re-established.
  • Ensure access to quality healthcare for all women and girls, especially as resources are diverted to address the pandemic.
  • Collect data disaggregated by gender, age and other factors to track the impact of all response efforts. Of the papers and reports published around the time of the Zika and Ebola epidemics only less than 1% explored the gendered impact of the outbreaks.
  • Help challenge gender norms through marketing and advertising, encouraging unpaid care to be shared more equally.
  • CEOs and executive teams can publicly signal their commitment to advance gender equality, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, by signing the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles..


  • Supporting minority businesses: JD.Com is assisting vulnerable groups such as women to increase their business sales through e-commerce platforms during COVID-19.
  • Financial assistance for Mothers: Intesa Sanpaolo developed Mamma@Work, a financing program to economically support working moms, particularly new moms during the pandemic.
  • Leveraging partnerships and mobilizing resources for gender equality: Koç Holding mobilized its Group companies with over 90 thousand employees to take actions against domestic violence, promote equal share of care work and collaborated with UN Women and TÜSİAD for a research project to address the negative impacts of the pandemic on female employees.
  • Ongoing matching donations fundraising effort: Citrix has matched all COVID-19 related donations made by its employees and has offered virtual volunteer opportunities to support those in need. In strong partnership with Girls Who Code, it continues to support programmes that empower women in tech, such as the org’s Code from Home initiative. Additionally, Citrix will match every dollar donated to Girls Who Code, up to $50,000.
  • An opportunity to address gender equality during COVID-19: Absa Group Limited co-hosted a webinar featuring diverse business as they discussed combatting gender-based violence and women’s self advocacy.
  • Localized efforts against domestic violence: Avon has funded local organizations in India, UK, and Mexico to provide resources to women and children who are victims of domestic abuse such as counseling and online chat service.



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