Time to prepare to mitigate COVID-19 impact on women

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its exponential growth, it is essential to support working families to minimize negative consequences for vulnerable groups such as children, aged population and women.
Women in the world’s countries are seeing disproportionate effects of the economic downturn during the coronavirus pandemic compared to men, and Myanmar is no exception. The year 2020 is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration for promoting the development of women and we need to speed up the efforts.
It is found that women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 because the service sector they dominate is hard hit by social distancing rules.
We all should be aware that the loss of jobs in sectors dominated by women will have a devastating impact on families, especially where women are the primary or co-breadwinner.
To mitigate the impacts from the COVID-19, we need to support the development of women in this time of crisis. Understanding that the absence of adequate social protection systems would exacerbate their exposure to the crisis, the Union Government is considering a plan to provide cash or loans under the COVID -19 Economic Relief Plan to women and women-headed families facing a loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic in the hope of creating job opportunities for them.
There are over 200,000 job losses in Myanmar during the COVID-19. Besides, of the migrant workers who returned from neighbouring countries, many women are not likely to seek jobs in neighbouring countries in post-COVID-19. Meanwhile, when it comes to creating jobs, we should not neglect the women living in rural areas and in cities.
Under the coming programme, we should strengthen livelihood skills of the returnees and women in the agriculture and cottage industries and women’s knowledge of finances, markets and business development in our country.
To help policy makers choose the correct decisions, civil society organizations are requested to gather information on the challenges that women are facing and to direct their voices to these policy makers. This pandemic is also challenging our commitment to development of women. With women’s interests and rights front and centre, we can get through this pandemic faster, and build more equitable and resilient communities and societies that benefit everyone.

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