It is impossible to ignore the ways in which Covid-19 has exacerbated gender inequality around the world. But as we recognise the scale of the challenges that lie ahead, we mark International Women’s Day 2020 by celebrating those taking a stand for the rights of women everywhere.
In the early days of the pandemic, descriptions surfaced of the virus as a ‘great leveller’, affecting even the rich and famous and making heroes of frontline workers. One year on, and the ways in which Covid-19 has impacted some people more than others have become increasingly apparent. Initial assessments of the social impact of the pandemic have pointed to the exacerbation of existing structural inequality and, in particular, to the increased vulnerability of women and girls everywhere.
In November, the UN announced that Covid-19 may have set the fight for women’s equality back 25 years, pointing to widening of disparities in economic wellbeing, health and education outcomes. Even more concerning has been the dramatic increase in incidences of violence against women resulting from restrictions on movement and isolation measures. With concerns mounting around the world, the Council of Europe pointed recently to the worrying increase in levels of gender-based violence with the UN calling outright for a domestic violence ‘ceasefire’.
In recognition of these escalating threats, LAP members voted last year to fund the work of the Justice Centre for Legal Aid in Jordan supporting women and girls whose need for and access to legal services had been impacted by the effects of Covid-19. As we continue to identify the ways in which our members can promote women’s rights and support others doing this around the world, we mark International Women’s Day by celebrating those speaking up and taking action.
Get inspired by these 16 women leading the way to restoring the earth or join this webinar on March 11th to hear from women on the frontline defending their rights to land. You can find out more from Peace Brigades International UK’s webinar on women’s rights during the pandemic available to watch online. To do something constructive, consider sharing Women’s Aid’s petition seeking additional funding for domestic violence services in the UK or check out the line-up for this year’s Women of the World festival to connect with a host of inspiring speakers. On March 18th, hear from a panel of remarkable women Refusing to be Silenced, where winners of the Anna Politkovskaya Award shine a light on the abuses committed against women and girls in conflict areas exacerbated by the pandemic. All this and much more.
Whatever you do to celebrate International Women’s Day this year, join us in celebrating those at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights. The fight must go on.