On the occasion of World Health Day today, Global Health 50/50, the African Population and Health Research Center and the International Center for Research on Women launched the Sex, Gender and COVID-19 Health Policy Portal. The portal provides the most comprehensive review of the integration of sex and gender into national COVID-19 public health policies globally.
We are pleased to have the opportunity to share the findings and resources of the Policy Portal, which collates and reviews more than 400 national COVID-19 health policy extracts from 76 countries. We are concerned, however, by our finding that 91% of COVID-19 health policies reviewed are gender blind.
In South and Southeast Asia, we reviewed eight countries which had at least one COVID-19 health policy. The total policy reviewed across these eight countries were 52, out of which only 12 policies were found to be gender responsive while 77% are gender blind though better than global findings.
The review of India’s publicly available policies reveals the following:
India stands among the four countries out of the 76 countries reviewed, to have at least three gender-responsive policies across the six policy areas. The other three are Bangladesh, Canada, and South Sudan. In terms of the caseload, India stands at third position in the world but has been performing extensively in vaccinations. Of the total 11 policies available publicly, 3 policies are gender sensitive. While this is a great starting point, there is still a lot to achieve to make recovery from the pandemic equitable.
Across the policy areas reviewed, evidence from past pandemics suggests that taking gender and intersecting characteristics such as age, disability, ethnicity, pregnancy and sexual orientation into account when designing and delivering interventions to address COVID-19, may improve health outcomes for everyone. Yet, the Sex, Gender and COVID-19 Health Policy Portal reveals a pervasive gender-blindness that spans policy areas, geographical regions and country income levels.
We encourage you to explore the Policy Portal’s global index, country profiles and policy area-specific pages to compare policy approaches and to promote knowledge sharing.
You can explore the findings through a global index, findings by policy area, and findings per country on the Sex, Gender and COVID-19 site: https://globalhealth5050.org/covid-policy-portal
We hope you will find the portal useful for work on gender and COVID-19, and please do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions.
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