The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing gender inequalities as public health guidelines and lockdown measures lead to higher rates of gender-based violence and less access to sexual and reproductive information and health services including gender-affirming care. School and daycare closures and restrictions have substantially added to the unpaid care work disproportionately carried out by women. In a few short months, we have gone back to 1980s levels of women’s labour force participation, with fears the situation will become ever more dire as the pandemic wears on.
Not all women, girls, and gender diverse people are experiencing the pandemic in the same way. Women, girls, and gender diverse people who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour; people with disabilities, LBTI folks, sex workers, refugees and migrants, and people living in poverty already faced heighted risks of violence, discrimination, and other human rights violations, and the pandemic has further heightened these risks.