The COVID-19 pandemic disease is a worldwide emergency described as a devastating threat to mental health, economics and social relations. Social isolation and quarantine have caused severe damage to social relations. Long-term unemployment, job losses and declining household incomes have been created in many countries. Women’s rights are one of the most critical issues affected by the epidemic, which has received little attention from the international community.

Since COVID closed schools and public places, some experts have begun to warn about the psychological effects of forced or voluntary quarantine. Their focus was mainly on domestic violence against women and children.

Meanwhile, some governments have reported increased family violence during the quarantine. The phenomenon has become so pervasive that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has criticized it and called on all governments to take action to prevent it from spreading.

Social restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak have increased pressure on women. Domestic violence and the expectations of men from women are problematic. As Guterres stated in his policy summary: “In every area, from health to the economy, to security to social protection, the effects of COVID-19 on women and girls are exacerbated solely by their gender.”

The data clearly show that the economic consequences of this epidemic disproportionately affect women and girls in lost jobs. They are still paid less for similar work and often live on the poverty line.

The epidemic had a profound effect on the economy and their fundamental rights. The disproportionate effect on women is not only due to the epidemic. It’s because governments have adopted the existing challenge by addressing urgent measures to deal with emergencies and subsequently putting in place tools to deal with them. 

For example, the policy of isolation and imprisonment led to an increase in domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and an escalation of online violence. There has been a significant increase in violence against women’s health due to the difficulty or impossibility of accessing sexual and reproductive health services in many countries.

The effect of the epidemic on women’s rights can be focused on three critical areas: the right to work, domestic violence and access to maternal health services and abortion. 

Structural inequalities in these areas are exacerbated by the health crisis, especially in fulfilling the obligations under many human rights treaties, which governments should prioritize. Governments should take specific measures if the same situation is repeated.

Most existing studies have looked at the economic effect of actions taken by governments in the recovery management phase. But there is no in-depth analysis of governments’ responsibilities to respect women’s rights and gender equality in current programs.

There is a need to assess the effect of government measures on women’s rights and gender equality, address the government’s commitments to this group, and develop research around participation and compensation. And gender equality, and explaining and reinforcing gender-focused measures.

Global analysis suggests that a significant part of the worldwide response to COVID-19 has been gender-blind. Although gender issues involve women and men, in some areas a specific gender needs to be examined in a specialized way. Stereotypes, prejudices and discriminatory norms have always had a devastating effect on society. The opportunity for change should not be missed because the time has come for a profound cultural change.