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CORE leads CSW66 discussion on Covid-19 and gender

Last week, the Covid-19 Responses for Equity (CORE) Knowledge Translation programme, in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), organised a side event at the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, entitled ‘Why Covid-19 recovery must be gender-responsive’.

The panel discussion delved into the evidence generated by the CORE rapid research initiative revealing how Covid-19 has deepened gender inequalities and gender poverty in countries including India, South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Benin and Burkina Faso. And in particular, it focused on three studies which found that women working in the informal sector and gender minorities were more severely negatively affected than men by pandemic measures such as lockdowns and financial support policies.

Watch the recording here.


  • Pranita Achyut, Director of Research and Programmes at International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) Asia.
  • Sneha Sharma, Technical specialist at ICRW Asia.
  • Ghida Ismail, Study specialist on Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing Limited (WIEGO)’s Global Crisis Study.
  • Ana Carolina Ogando, Research Associate for WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme and gender and qualitative data advisor for WIEGO’s Global Crisis Study.
  • Ségolène Eyebiyi, Research Assistant, African School of Economics (ASE)

Chair: Caroline Ford, Director, Democratic and Inclusive Governance at IDRC.

In her introduction, Caroline Ford commented that:

“The panel is very timely. As many regions of the world appear ready to ‘move on’ from the pandemic, important questions remain as to whether, as a global community, we have truly captured the lessons on gender inequalities that the pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated. More urgently, are we moving on from the aspirations and intentions, early in the pandemic, to seize its once in a lifetime opportunity for gender transformation? Is all that wonderful goodwill to truly build forward better at risk of slipping away?”

Speakers explored the impact the pandemic is having across the most vulnerable groups, how gender intersects and often exacerbates these effects, and what recommendations for future policy responses have emerged.

Key takeaways include:

  • Economic recovery from the bottom up is essential.
  • There is an opportunity to engage with women workers to co-design solutions and policies. It is key that workers be recognised by the Government.
  • There is also an opportunity to re-imagine the policy and programme framing processes, to bring women in informal economies on the table and be critical stakeholder in the decisions.