Covid-19 and global gender strategy: if not now, when?

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Contributor(s): Ginette Azcona, Dr Roopa Dhatt, Dr Roopa Dhatt, Megan O’Donnell | This event brings together global experts on gender issues to discuss the urgent need to support women. How can women’s vulnerability be considered in pandemic preparedness and response? And what is the role of the policymaker in reestablishing the path to a more equal society for men and women? While there have been significant advances in gender equality in the past 30 years, the COVID-19 threatens to undo this good work. Studies show more men are dying of COVID-19 but the negative secondary social and economic effects as a result of the pandemic will negatively affect more women. School closures, lockdowns and reduced access to healthcare are just some of the ways the pandemic is already exaggerating existing gender disparities. Ginette Azcona is a Research and Data Specialist at UN Women and one of the principle authors of UN Women's 2018 flagship report Turning Promises into Action. She joined UN Women in 2010 to work on its flagship report Progress of the World’s Women. Before this, she was part of the research and writing team for UNDP’s 2009 Human Development Report: Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development. She has authored numerous publications on human development, human rights, social justice and gender and development data and currently leads the data and statistical work for UN Women’s flagship reports. Roopa Dhatt (@roopadhatt) is the Executive Director of Women in Global Health. She is a passionate advocate for gender equality in global health and a leading voice in the movement to correct the gender imbalance in global health leadership. She is also a practicing internal medicine physician. Sarah Hawkes is a medical doctor with a degree in sociology and a PhD in epidemiology. She is Professor of Global Public Health at University College London where she leads a research theme analysing the use of research evidence in policy processes, particularly in relation to gender and health equity. Sarah is Director of the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health and co-Director and co-founder of Global Health 50/50 which advances action and accountability for gender equality in global health. Megan O’Donnell (@modonnell1231) is the assistant director for gender and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development, where she works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and measurement, and development effectiveness. Prior to CGD, O’Donnell worked at the ONE Campaign, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Center for Research on Women, CARE USA, Banyan Global, and the Middle East Institute. She has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. Clare Wenham (@clarewenham) is Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at the LSE. She specialises in global health security and the politics and policy of pandemic preparedness and outbreak response. She has researched this for over a decade, through influenza, Ebola and Zika, ranging from questions of global governance, role of WHO and World Bank, national priorities and innovative financing for pandemic control. More recently she has been examining the role of women in epidemics and associated policy. For COVID-19 Clare is Co-PI on grant from the CIHR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation analysing the gendered dimensions of the outbreak. The Department of Health Policy (@LSEHealthPolicy) trains and inspires people passionate about health by advancing and challenging their understanding of health systems and the social, economic and political contexts in which they operate. This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis.

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