Where are the women? The conspicuous absence of women in COVID-19 response teams and plans, and why we need them

The COVID-19 crisis is disproportionately affecting women and girls. This makes it all the more important that their voices are equally included in the decision-making spaces and processes where responses are formed. CARE’s research has found that where women do have higher levels of leadership, governments are more likely to be responding to the crisis in a way that supports gender equality. Women’s participation is necessary at every level and in every arena, from national crisis committees to the local communities on the frontlines of humanitarian responses.

However CARE’s research also found that women are being left out of decision making, and too few governments are implementing measures for gender equality. CARE is calling on governments and international donors to increase women’s leadership at all levels of COVID-19 response structures, respond to the impact of the pandemic on women and girls, and increase and track humanitarian funding for local women’s rights and women-led organisations that are responding to the crisis.