Press release: New UN Women video highlights women’s challenges and needs in the context of COVID-19

Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cairo/Abu Dhabi, 8 July 2020 – UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States in partnership with UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC released today the video ‘#WomenAndCOVID’, a public service announcement (PSA) highlighting the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls in the Arab States region, and the urgency need to prioritize the fundamental rights of women in response and recovery efforts.

The video underlines the multiple dimensions of the impact of the pandemic on women and girls, including that as they represent 80% of nursing and care staff in the Arab States and carry out 4.7 times more unpaid household and care work than men -the highest rate in the world- they are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

As the pandemic progresses, we are witnessing increased rates of gender-based violence in the home and online, while preventative measures such as lockdowns limit women’s access to protection and social services, as well as to maternal and reproductive healthcare. 

The video also draws attention to the longer-term impact of the pandemic, as many women are expected to fall into poverty during the related economic crisis, in particular female-headed households in the region. The pandemic is expected to result in the loss of 1.7 million jobs in the Arab region, including approximately 700,000 jobs held by women. The consequences of these job losses will be compounded by gender-biased policies that presume that the main heads of households are men.

Moez Doraid, UN Women Regional Director a.i. for the Arab States said, “as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, ‘Gender equality and women’s rights are essential to getting through this pandemic together, to recovering faster, and to building a better future for everyone.’ With this video, UN Women aims to raise awareness and mobilize public support to ensure women and girls are at the centre of the response and recovery efforts, including by making them leaders and equally involved in decision-making, so we can build back better”.

The 2.5-minutes video features life motion images and still photographs by Agence France Presse (AFP) as well as the UN Women visual archive.

For additional information on UN Women’s work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, please check out our In Focus page.

Media contacts:

Diego De La Rosa

Regional Communications Specialist

UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States

Cairo, Egypt

Hannah Beswick

Head of Partnerships

UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC

Abu Dhabi, UAE