Transform women’s livelihoods in Covid-19 recovery – report

WOMEN’S access to decent work, social protection and food security must be prioritised as part of a people-centred economy that addresses inequalities between as well as within countries, argues a new report.

The report, titled ‘Beyond Covid-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice,’ was released on Saturday in Dar es Salaam by the UN Women Research and Data Section.

It emphasizes how women’s jobs were brutally exposed during the pandemic and other global crises, and says immediate action is required to strengthen gender-responsive systems and remove women from the informal economy.

The report also suggests that nations prioritise care, with public investments in the care economy serving as a key pillar of economic recovery.

It says affordable quality care services are not only necessary to support women’s (re)entry into the labour force and the well-being of children and the elderly, but they can also fuel a job-rich recovery.

Speaking at the national launch event of the UN Women report, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, says it was clear that the Covid-19 pandemic strained public services and created significant economic hardship.

“Women’s unpaid work in families and communities became a shock absorber once more.” “While Tanzania did not experience the same level of negative impacts as the rest of the world – where there were challenges to the economy, the strain on care services, and increased levels of gender-based violence, among other things – women were more adversely affected,” she noted.

Dr Gwajima went on to say that it is critical to remember that pandemic directly affects the livelihoods of communities, and once again, women are disproportionately affected, so governments must maintain a peaceful environment at all times to ensure prosperity of women and girls.

The feminist plan maps the ambitious and transformative policies—on livelihoods, care, and the environment—that are needed to build a more equal and sustainable future. To get there, it calls for context-specific policy pathways, tailored political strategies, and financing.

The plan identifies key levers that can create change and the actors at global, national, and local levels that need to take action to move towards this vision.

In achieving gender equality and equity, she said Tanzania has been implementing four main priority areas of intervention including the Elimination of Gender-based Violence, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Women’s Participation in Decision Making, and Gender Mainstreaming in Sector Policies.

“As many of you may be aware, in 2021, under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania committed to champion Economic Justice and Rights for women at the global Generation Equality Forum in Paris,” said Dr Gwajima.

Dr Gwajima says Tanzania’s commitment to the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights outlines ambitious actions to be achieved by 2026, addressing critical issues in the care sector, social protection, enhancing women’s livelihoods, and feminist actions for climate change.

UN Women Tanzania Representative, Ms Hodan Addou said global crises such as Covid-19, the economic impact of the war in Ukraine and the devastating effects of environmental degradation and climate change continue to affect millions of lives, destroying countless livelihoods and creating enormous economic damage to the world over.

“In UN Women’s Feminist Plan, we have identified three areas – Jobs, Care, and Climate – where we must see policies, action and investments,” she said.

One key message from the report she said is that nation needs to change not only what they do, but also how they do it. Breaking the vicious cycle of economic insecurity, environmental destruction, and exclusionary politics.

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