UN: Coronavirus Pandemic is Sexist

As the mother-organization of the World Health Organization  (WHO), the United Nations is responsible for the response to the global coronavirus pandemic. As such, it is deeply disturbing that the United Nations claims the greatest damage of the virus that has killed over 891,000 to date is a setback in women’s rights.

On Sunday, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, tweeted:

“The #COVID19 pandemic is demonstrating what we all know: millennia of patriarchy have resulted in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture which damages everyone – women, men, girls & boys.”

He added: “This is the time to rebuild more equal, inclusive, and resilient societies.”

 

An article published on the UN website reported on a virtual town hall conducted by Mr. Guterres with young women from civil society organizations discussing the effects the global pandemic has had on gender equality and women’s rights. In a tweet about the town hall event, Mr. Guterres said that “protecting the rights of women and girls during the #COVID19 crisis is a top priority for the @UN, and for me.”

In the article, Mr. Guterres summarized the conclusions of the town hall:

“In short, the pandemic is exposing and exacerbating the considerable hurdles women face in achieving their rights and fulfilling their potential”, he said. 

Some other issues discussed that were central to the pandemic were he rise in teenage pregnancy during the pandemic, protection of human rights defenders, support for people with disabilities, and the need to fight racism. 

It should be noted that in May,  the UN issued its humanitarian response plan to the coronavirus pandemic. In July, the UN Commission on Population and Development delayed humanitarian food-shortage aid to Yemen over its commitment to elective abortion. As in many countries, abortion is illegal in Yemen, except in the case of life-saving interventions for the mother. Nonetheless, abortion is part of the COVID-19 response plan in the UNFPA’s Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP), which includes box kits with “reproductive health materials” for women and girls. The kits contain a variety of abortion-related items such as vacuum extractors and cranioclasts for crushing fetal skulls.

 


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