RIYADH: Women 20 Chair Dr. Thoraya Obaid on Monday called on G20 health ministers to recognize the role women are playing in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on them.
On behalf of W20’s international delegates, she said that G20 health chiefs should consider women’s role in their coordination efforts including any new task force.
Expressing support for the idea of the formation of a new global health task force to tackle pandemics, the Women’s Engagement Group urged ministers to appoint women to the proposed body. It called on the G20 to take specific measures to address women’s specific health care needs.
“Women are a vital part of the health care infrastructure that is battling the pandemic head-on — both directly, as women comprise almost 7 out of 10 health and social care workers, and indirectly as unpaid caregivers, contributing $1.5 trillion to the global health economy even before these extraordinary times. Their needs merit dedicated attention as workers and as receivers of care themselves,” Obaid said.
The group called for greater protection for women in health care and as receivers of care.
It also urged authorities to introduce incentives for employers to implement measures that recognize the role of women as caregivers for children, the sick, disabled and elderly family members.
Women are a vital part of the health care infrastructure that is battling the pandemic head-on.
Dr. Thoraya Obaid, Women 20 chair
W20 also stressed the need to accelerate measures to include women in national and global COVID-19 response policy and operational spaces.
It also called for the expansion and sharing of data collection, reporting and analysis of the gendered impact of pandemic response policies.
“This should include the different types of vulnerabilities women face due to discriminations based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, disabilities, and health conditions,” according to a W20 statement.
The group also called for a review of the gendered implications of quarantines, such as whether men and women’s different physical, cultural, security and sanitary needs are recognized in service provision.
W20 also urged policymakers to increase resources to fight gender-based violence and to introduce hotlines and monitoring systems to curb it.