Panel 2: Gender-equal socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

47th Session of the Human Rights Council

Annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women

Panel 2: Gender-equal socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

Federation for Women and Family Planning

The Federation makes this statement also on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative. 

COVID 19 has laid bare what feminists have been saying for decades. The systems that govern the world are sick and it is the people with the least power in these systems who suffer the consequences. 

The pandemic has shown us, in the most visceral of ways, the devastating impacts of neoliberal policies of austerity and privatisation on health and social protection systems. Governments of all political stripes have exploited this moment to force through repressive laws, restrict access to essential services, promote disinformation, suppress dissent, and feed the coffers of opportunistic corporations. Vaccine hoarding by wealthy countries and opposition to TRIPS waivers that would allow for increased access to COVID 19 vaccines in global south countries, has exposed the colonial underbelly of international cooperation. 

Gender inequality, violence and discrimination in the home, healthcare settings, the workplace and civic spaces has intensified with impunity as States consider such human rights violations as nothing more than collateral damage in their efforts to address more “serious” problems related to COVID 19. Even this body charged with protecting and promoting human rights including and especially during this global crisis, has restricted civic space in the name of efficiency through the cancellation of general debates at this session. 

We must resist the urge to consider the gendered socio-economic fallout of the pandemic as an aberration. The stage has been set for a global catastrophe of this magnitude over many years.  To talk of a gender equal recovery from COVID 19 we must be prepared to talk about dismantling these corrupt systems that do not serve the people they purport to champion. 

We must heed the calls to consider the true interdependence of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and the interconnectedness of social justice struggles across national borders. 

If not now, when?

I thank you.