Women, girls deserve more equal future, recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

Women from across the South-East Asia Region have played a vital role in the COVID-19 response and must continue to be empowered to help shape a more equal future and recovery from the pandemic.

Regarding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in our country, no one would be left behind. This means that women, children and vulnerable communities would also receive vaccines and assistance.

To be able to continue current efforts for development of women, women committees at region and state level would be reformed and this step would ensure that no one would be left not only in responding the COVID-19 pandemic but also in their livelihood and living standard.

We would like to call on regional authorities and health organizations to consider sex and gender effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, both direct and indirect, and conduct an analysis of the gendered impacts of the multiple outbreaks, incorporating the voices of women on the front line of the response to COVID-19 and of those most affected by the disease within preparedness and response policies or practices going forward.

Regarding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in our country, no one would be left behind. This means that women, children and vulnerable communities would also receive vaccines and assistance.

Women-led organizations have a critical role to play in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Women have been at the fore of the Region’s many immunization successes, from achieving and maintaining polio-free status to eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus as a public health problem.
They are central to the Region’s efforts to eliminate measles and rubella by 2023 and to end cervical cancer.

The World Health Organization has stressed the need to empower women-led organizations in the coming weeks and months to promote community buy-in and overcome gender-related barriers to vaccine access. Women’s leadership will help bring this pandemic to an end.

On International Women’s Day, we pledge to take action to elevate women’s leadership and voices in the health sector and beyond, and at all stages of the pandemic response and recovery.

We must grasp the opportunity to drive real change and build a fairer, healthier “new normal” that outlives the current crisis. A gender-equal Region and world is possible. Together we must act.

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