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Covid-19 effects on women and girls in Africa – KBC

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At the beginning of 2020, few of us expected what lay ahead. The Covid-19 disaster announced in March 2020 caused unprecedented disruption in all aspects of life and led to uncertainty and anxiety in the world.

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While COVID-19 has and continues to have a negative impact on every aspect of life in communities around the world, women and girls have been particularly affected.

In Africa, women and girls have been largely responsible for the epidemic, as the virus has exacerbated gender inequality, highlighting serious flaws in safety, physical and mental health, education, household responsibilities, and employment opportunities.

The virus has severely disrupted women’s lives as decades of progress towards women’s rights and gender equality in Africa have begun to disappear.

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The scourge and measures taken by the government to end its spread have affected women, men, girls and boys differently. It has witnessed a dramatic increase in reports of sexual assault (GBV), leading to GBV gray matter, while storytelling evidence shows that the number of child marriages and other abuses against girls, as well as teenage pregnancies, has risen.

The level of female poverty

In the Covid-19 study on women and men as found from a study conducted during 2020, as well as the Computer Assistance Assistance Survey (CAT) Rapid Gender Survey (RGAS) , United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners in seven countries in the Eastern and Southern African Region, more than 60% of women and men in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa suffered a total loss or declining personal income as a result of the epidemic, and increasing levels of poverty already. in many countries and emphasizing the gender differences women are more likely than men to live in extreme poverty. The level of female poverty, pre-covid-19 was estimated at 10 percent in 2021, but that number is now estimated at 13 percent.

Pediatric health services, maternal care for pregnant women, chronic illness services, and sexual and reproductive health care, as well as family planning and HIV prevention services, were severely affected by the epidemic. In Kenya, about 60 percent of women and more than 50 percent of men would not have access to health care for their children.

In South Africa and Mozambique, less than 20 percent of women received contraception and other reproductive health services during the epidemic, with some staying away for fear of contracting the virus. Maternal and child health is one of the areas that can be reversed.

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School closures have had a devastating effect on girls as enrollment and learning outcomes have diminished or disappeared. Schools are among the most powerful social networks for teenage girls, providing peers with mentors and when girls are cut off from these networks, their risk of violence increases.

In an environment where gender norms restrict girls’ access to the tools needed for remote learning such as computers, cell phones and the Internet, they may fall behind their male peers when schools are closed. And when schools reopen, many girls are unable to return, as seen during the Ebola crisis.

In Somalia, Somali women have come out to meet the great needs of society as a result of the deaths and displacement of their male relatives from major conflicts.

Women make up almost half of all households and nationwide generate an average of 70 percent of household income. Gender inequality that prevents women from fulfilling their potential makes the country vulnerable to conflict. Women work equally in the informal economy without protection if they get sick or lose income.

During the crisis, many women working on the streets of Mogadishu ran a small business, selling second-hand clothes, food and a variety of drinks were affected; an exit curfew reduced the duration of goods and reduced humanitarian movements in Mogadishu to reduce demand.

The closure of airports and ports also meant that many of the products they sell along with sweets and clothing are no longer available. As a result, women have lost their income and thus threatened their well-being and their many households. At the same time, low literacy rates for women – 36 percent for women 15 years and older, compared to 44 percent for men – and access to technology make it more difficult to provide the information they need to protect themselves and their families from infection .

When women become ill or their burden of care increases, families will begin to attract younger girls to school to help. This will be at the expense of education and skills development of Somali women and girls. High levels of sexual harassment, exacerbated by decades of conflict, combine these challenges and undermine women’s ability to care for and provide for their families.

For these and other reasons, gender inequality will exacerbate the effects of the epidemic on women and girls in Africa and exacerbate many other problems on the continent. For Africa to prosper, the rights and rights of the girl child must be fully restored.

Dr. Abdiqani Sheikh Omar

The author, Dr. Abdiqani Sheikh Omar is the Senior WASH Strategic Policy Advisor there The Ministry of Energy and Water in Somalia and the former Director General of the Ministry of Health and Human Services, FGs.

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