African Union Guidelines on Gender Responsive Responses to Covid19
Gender Equality is enshrined in the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act as a guiding principle according to which the Union shall operate. It is also recognized in all the goals of Agenda 2063 as a cornerstone of the AU’s development agenda. The AU continues to prioritize Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) in its various thematic areas of work and provides innovative and progressive solutions to realize this critical development goal in the African Continent. With the COVID-19, an unprecedented global pandemic that has spread to almost all its 55 Member States, the AU is faced with a challenge of this pandemic possibly reversing some of the gains it has made in promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights. Gender inequalities have the potential to exacerbate the outbreak, and responses that do not incorporate gender analysis may in turn, worsen inequalities.
It is important that the AU considers how COVID-19 will disproportionately affect women including young women and girls, particularly the vulnerable and those living in crises and conflict affected countries and ensure a gendered perspective in the analysis and responses to the pandemic. This will enable the designing and implementation of programmes and strategies, as well as the establishment of monitoring and reporting systems that are appropriate on differential preventive measures. Applying a gendered lens implies, among others, questioning how socially constructed roles and identities may affect vulnerability to and experiences of COVID-191. A gendered lens to COVID-19 responses will improve outcomes for not only women, but all people affected by the virus and contribute to saving lives