7 PM Editorial |Promoting Gender Equality in Post Pandemic World|10th August 2020

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Promoting Gender Equality in Post Pandemic World

Introduction:

Women and girls are more impacted due to COVID 19 pandemic. Major areas of impact are:

  • Increased care needsof elderly, family members and children due to home quarantines, school closures and work from homes.
  • Increased domestic violence(up to 33% rise)
  • Disruption in Sexual and Reproductive Health Services(SRHS)of pregnancy services, family planning services and menstrual health services.
  • Education and nutritionare impacted due to reduced incomes of households. Lower priority of girl child education and nutrition will lead to reduced investments in these. Further, lower incomes will increase child marriages when girls are seen as a burden.
  • Loss of jobs and incomes.

These have exposed gender inequalities and are leading to feminization of MDP (multidimensional poverty).

Post pandemic rebuild: Opportunity for gender equality

The pandemic response must build back better. It presents an opportunity to address the gender inequalities and make progress towards SDG(Sustainable Development Goal) – 5 of gender equality.

Steps to promote more equal world are:

  • Gender responsive disaster management:  Women’s needs, perspectives, participation and leadership must form part of response strategies and institutions. Response must empower women.
  • Sarvodaya – Leaving no women/girl behind: Inequalities in race, religion, caste, class, age, MDP, rural/urban etc aggravate gender inequalities. Hence all must be addressed holistically by a universal social protectionto address gender inequalities.
  • Gender inclusive economic rebuilding: Women’s skills, labour, entrepreneurship and leadership must be integrated into post pandemic economic rebuilding(Atmanirbhar Bharat). Incentives, policies and investments must be made to ensure this economic inclusivity.
  • Technological empowerment: Women must be enabled to benefit from the 4th industrial revolution and digital technologies like 5G, AI, robotics, digital payments etc.
  • Universal access to quality health care(SDG-3): Women specific services of SRHS must be made accessible, affordable and available. Public health infrastructure and services must be revamped by investing 3-5% of GDP annually.
  • Gender responsive education system(SDG-4):NEP(National Education Policy), 2020 must be used for closing enrollment, learning outcome and skills gaps between genders at all levels of education. Digital education must be used to increase accessibility and affordability of quality education to women and girls.
  • Cultural and behavioural transformation: Policies and laws must implement gender rights which are evolved in multiple instruments like Beijing declaration(1995), SDG-5.
Conclusion:

Gender equality is a recognized public good. It can add a trillion dollars to India’s GDP by 2025. Hence it is vital that a gender equal society is promoted in the post pandemic world.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com

Mains question:
  1. Discuss the impact of COVID pandemic on women. What steps must be taken to promote a more gender equal post pandemic world ? [15 marks, 250 words]
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