Africa calls for the COVID-19 fight to be gender responsive

At the inaugural meeting of African ministers for gender and women’s affairs, the topic of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was discussed, with a particular focus on mitigating the impacts of the crises on women and girls. On the topic of technology and  empowering women on the African continent,  Undersecretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Vera Songwe said that only 27% of women in Africa have access to the Internet, out of which only 15%  can afford the costs of using it. This means that for young girls, online learning is often impossible. Women who didn’t have access to technology and connectivity lost their jobs. The COVID-19 crisis deepened the inequalities and discrimination of vulnerable groups. Violation of human rights, in particular women’s rights, are at high risk. Cases of violence against women (VAW) are increasing. A key message for Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki, was ‘the fight against impunity, respect for dignity, equality, and solidarity must be the cardinal values in the gender approach against COVID-19’.