The Organization of American States (OAS), through the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), has released the document “COVID-19 in Women´s Lives: Reasons to Recognize Differential Impacts.” The document, which responds to the needs that the CIM identified during meetings with the Ministers and high-level authorities on women and gender, experts from the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) and women’s organizations, offers a broad overview of the differentiated impacts of the crisis on women, paying special attention to the most vulnerable groups. In addition, it proposes guidelines for the design of actions and public policies based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination and the need to implement affirmative action measures.
“The most vulnerable people, especially women, are experiencing the greatest impact during the COVID-19 crisis, which also deepens existing gender inequalities. The guide prepared by the CIM will allow OAS member states to formulate public policies to respond to the pandemic taking into account the specific needs of half the population,” said the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.
“It is urgent that the needs of women be part of the analyses, assessments and policies that are put in place in the face of the crisis, as a requirement for adequacy, effectiveness and sustainability, and to strengthen women’s leadership in times of crisis. Because we cannot allow any backsliding in the rights achieved by women in all areas,” said the Executive Secretary of the CIM, Alejandra Mora Mora.
Due to the high concentration of women in sectors affected by the crisis, the document focuses on the importance of the equal participation of women in decision-making; the increase in violence against women due to confinement; the exacerbation of the care crisis; the specific need for health services; and the risk of deepening poverty and dependence of women without their own income.
The CIM/OAS is the main political forum in the region for the recognition of the human rights of women and gender equality. Since its creation in 1928, the CIM has played a prominent and strategic role in the promotion of women’s rights in the hemisphere.