Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

The COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative
New global research hub explores the gendered dimensions of COVID-19 to promote equality through recovery.
About the Project
The COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative will aim to promote gender equality and long-term prosperity in low- and middle-income countries by informing global and national decision makers' policy responses to the current pandemic and future crises.

Early evidence suggests that the global pandemic has had an outsized negative impact on women and girls in low- and middle-income countries. Before COVID-19 hit, women’s labor force participation, access to finance, quality employment, pay, and advancement were all already unequal to men’s, and the pandemic and global recession are predicted to exacerbate these gaps. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that two-thirds of 103 countries surveyed cited initial disruptions to family planning and contraception services. And while over 200 countries and territories have put in place social protection policies to help communities recover from the pandemic, the extent to which these policies are reaching and benefiting women and girls is still unclear.

While the COVID-19 pandemic itself has been disastrous for global health and the global economy, this moment of rebuilding presents a major opportunity for policymakers across the globe to make gender equality core to building back better and to improve the opportunities of women and girls worldwide.

This global research initiative will examine COVID-19 recovery policies in three areas to determine the best ways to address long-standing gender inequality:

  • Health policy: The initiative will examine how COVID-19 and its response measures are indirectly impacting women’s and girls’ health, including access to sexual and reproductive health services and other essential medical care, in order to develop possible solutions to mitigate adverse effects in ongoing and future epidemics.

  • Social protection policy: The initiative will examine the design of social protection policies already enacted during the pandemic and provide recommendations to ensure that future social protection programs reach and benefit women and girls.

  • Economic development policy: The initiative will examine data on the impact of the COVID-19 global recession on women’s work in low- and middle-income countries, including entrepreneurship, wage and salaried work, work in subsistence agriculture, and unpaid care work, and make recommendations to design policies to promote women’s economic opportunities and empowerment.

Blogs

  • COVID-19 is a Gendered Crisis. Here’s What Policymakers Can Do About It.
    by Megan O'Donnell
    The Center for Global Development is building on our initial efforts by launching the COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative. This new initiative will aim to promote gender...
  • Where Are Women and Girls Especially Vulnerable to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
    by Mayra Buvinic et al.
    Did you know that Zimbabwe is one of four low- and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMCs) where a severe economic contraction in 2020 combines with very low levels of...
  • Preventing a “Return to Normal”: Addressing Violence against Women during...
    by Megan O'Donnell
    Since the start of the pandemic, I have been collaborating with Amber Peterman and other researchers to improve understanding of how pandemics and other crises increase the...
  • COVID-19 and Girls' Education: What We Know So Far and What We Expect
    by Amina Mendez Acosta et al.
    The potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls’ education are numerous and diverse. It’s too early for us to predict with confidence the impact of the pandemic on...
  • Ensuring Women’s Access to Cash Transfers in the Wake of COVID-19
    by Shelby Bourgault et al.
    With any cash transfer program, there are gender-related implications of targeting, access, and uptake. Here are a few things to keep in mind for the design and implementation...
  • Women and Girls Are Leading the Way towards Universal Access to Sexual and...
    by Julia Kaufman
    Governments around the world continue to focus on tackling the COVID-19 outbreak head-on and preventing already-stretched health systems from being even more overwhelmed.
  • Diaries from the Frontline: COVID-19 and Education Inequality: Who Is Most at...
    by Rita Perakis et al.
    This week, in our final installment in the series, we examine how one particularly vulnerable population served by the Luminos Fund—refugee children in Lebanon—has been...
  • Tracking the Gender Impact of COVID-19
    by Mayra Buvinic et al.
    We know that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting men and women differently and may exacerbate gender inequalities, and we also know that gender roles will help shape adaptive...
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Underscores Labor Shortages in Women-Dominated Professions
    by Rebekah Smith et al.
    Nearly half of the global population of international migrants are women. COVID-19 is highlighting labor shortages in women-dominated professions and the consequences these...
  • Why Gender-Sensitive Social Protection Is Critical to the COVID-19 Response...
    by Melissa Hidrobo et al.
    Designing gender-sensitive programming is not always straightforward, but evidence suggests simple design and implementation adaptations can make programming more...
  • The Risks Posed by Covid-19 Are Gendered. Our Response Should Be as Well.
    by Shelby Bourgault
    In a webcast event hosted by CGD, Megan O’Donnell spoke with researchers, practitioners, and advocates to highlight and contextualize data on how this global crisis presents...
  • A New Survey on the Risks of School Closures for Girls
    by Megan O'Donnell et al.
    COVID-19 is likely to affect the education outcomes of girls and boys in adverse and differential ways. What has been less studied are the challenges and perceptions of the...
  • A Gender Lens on COVID-19: Pandemics and Violence against Women and Children
    by Megan O'Donnell et al.
    Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, experts warned of increased violence against women and children. Existing research about pandemics and disease outbreaks unfortunately aligns...
  • A Gender Lens on COVID-19: Investing in Nurses and Other Frontline Health...
    by Megan O'Donnell et al.
    Here we take a deeper dive into the promotion of a gender-equal global health workforce in which the occupations where women predominate, such as nursing and community health...
  • Playing the Long Game: How a Gender Lens Can Mitigate Harm Caused by Pandemics
    by Megan O'Donnell
    Working towards structural changes that will take longer to come to fruition, especially those that relate to reducing global inequality, is the only way to radically decrease...
  • How Will COVID-19 Affect Women and Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?
    by David Evans
    Policymakers should be thinking—and worried—about how COVID-19 is expected to disproportionately affect women and girls. Gender inequality can come into even starker focus...

Publications

  • COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Children: A Third Research Round Up...
    by Amber Peterman et al.
    This year, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence comes at a time when there is unprecedented global attention on violence against women and children (VAW/C). The...
  • COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Children: A Second Research Round Up
    by Amber Peterman et al.
    COVID-19 has raised the profile of violence against women and children (VAW/C) within the global discourse. Nine months after the emergence of COVID-19, global stakeholders...
  • Women’s Access to Cash Transfers in Light of COVID-19: The Case of Pakistan
    by Shelby Bourgault et al.
    In this policy note, we highlight Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program as a case study, as well as several other examples of cash transfer programs mobilized by...
  • Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 School Closures: Insights from Frontline...
    by Maryam Akmal et al.
    COVID-19 school closures pose significant operational and financial risks to frontline organizations delivering vital education services, including non-governmental...
  • Pandemics and Violence Against Women and Children
    by Amber Peterman et al.
    Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Pandemics are no...

Media Mentions

  • COVID-19 recovery provides a unique opportunity to close the gender gap (Devex)
    While it’s still too soon to know definitively what’s happening across the globe to women during the pandemic, data from 26,000 business owners and managers collected across...
  • Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality (Axios)
    The disproportionate effects of containment measures on female-dominant sectors, the heavier role of women in child and elder care, and an uptick in domestic violence are all...
  • More women forced to close businesses in pandemic amid warnings they will be...
    "Before Covid-19 hit, women’s labour force participation, access to finance, pay, and advancement were all already unequal to men’s, and the pandemic and global recession...
  • Child marriage worries rise amid coronavirus lockdown in Cameroon (The New...
    "Girls in developing countries are also at a substantial risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and dropping out once schools re-open, according to a new...
  • What We Know About Crises And Domestic Violence — And What That Could Mean...
    "According to a working paper by the Center for Global Development, the effects of unemployment on IPV vary across populations due to cultural differences, but in the U.S.,...
  • Teen pregnancy risk rises as schools shut for coronavirus in Africa (Reuters)
    Closing schools poses risks for children everywhere, from sexual violence to lack of mid-day meals, but the impact may be bigger in Africa, said Lee Crawfurd, a senior research...

Events

  • Promoting Gender Equality Through COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
    Before COVID-19 hit, women’s labor force participation, access to finance, pay, and advancement were all already unequal to...
  • COVID-19 Payments: Managing Risks, Ensuring Women’s Inclusion, and Communicating Clearly
    This webinar responds to the question of how governments and humanitarian agencies can manage the risks associated with...
  • Gender Based Violence in a Pandemic: Evidence to Inform Prevention and Response
    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three women worldwide experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly perpetrated by an...
  • Safeguarding Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to sexual and reproductive health, including contraceptive services,...
  • Online Event: Approaching COVID-19 Risk and Response through a Gender Lens
    While the immediate impacts of COVID-19 are already apparent, some have yet to surface, and many of them will have different...

Blogs

  • COVID-19 is a Gendered Crisis. Here’s What Policymakers Can Do About It.
    by Megan O'Donnell
    The Center for Global Development is building on our initial efforts by launching the COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative. This new initiative will aim to promote gender...
  • Where Are Women and Girls Especially Vulnerable to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
    by Mayra Buvinic et al.
    Did you know that Zimbabwe is one of four low- and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMCs) where a severe economic contraction in 2020 combines with very low levels of...
  • Preventing a “Return to Normal”: Addressing Violence against Women during...
    by Megan O'Donnell
    Since the start of the pandemic, I have been collaborating with Amber Peterman and other researchers to improve understanding of how pandemics and other crises increase the...
  • COVID-19 and Girls' Education: What We Know So Far and What We Expect
    by Amina Mendez Acosta et al.
    The potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls’ education are numerous and diverse. It’s too early for us to predict with confidence the impact of the pandemic on...
  • Ensuring Women’s Access to Cash Transfers in the Wake of COVID-19
    by Shelby Bourgault et al.
    With any cash transfer program, there are gender-related implications of targeting, access, and uptake. Here are a few things to keep in mind for the design and implementation...
  • Women and Girls Are Leading the Way towards Universal Access to Sexual and...
    by Julia Kaufman
    Governments around the world continue to focus on tackling the COVID-19 outbreak head-on and preventing already-stretched health systems from being even more overwhelmed.
  • Diaries from the Frontline: COVID-19 and Education Inequality: Who Is Most at...
    by Rita Perakis et al.
    This week, in our final installment in the series, we examine how one particularly vulnerable population served by the Luminos Fund—refugee children in Lebanon—has been...
  • Tracking the Gender Impact of COVID-19
    by Mayra Buvinic et al.
    We know that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting men and women differently and may exacerbate gender inequalities, and we also know that gender roles will help shape adaptive...
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Underscores Labor Shortages in Women-Dominated Professions
    by Rebekah Smith et al.
    Nearly half of the global population of international migrants are women. COVID-19 is highlighting labor shortages in women-dominated professions and the consequences these...
  • Why Gender-Sensitive Social Protection Is Critical to the COVID-19 Response...
    by Melissa Hidrobo et al.
    Designing gender-sensitive programming is not always straightforward, but evidence suggests simple design and implementation adaptations can make programming more...
  • The Risks Posed by Covid-19 Are Gendered. Our Response Should Be as Well.
    by Shelby Bourgault
    In a webcast event hosted by CGD, Megan O’Donnell spoke with researchers, practitioners, and advocates to highlight and contextualize data on how this global crisis presents...
  • A New Survey on the Risks of School Closures for Girls
    by Megan O'Donnell et al.
    COVID-19 is likely to affect the education outcomes of girls and boys in adverse and differential ways. What has been less studied are the challenges and perceptions of the...
  • A Gender Lens on COVID-19: Pandemics and Violence against Women and Children
    by Megan O'Donnell et al.
    Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, experts warned of increased violence against women and children. Existing research about pandemics and disease outbreaks unfortunately aligns...
  • A Gender Lens on COVID-19: Investing in Nurses and Other Frontline Health...
    by Megan O'Donnell et al.
    Here we take a deeper dive into the promotion of a gender-equal global health workforce in which the occupations where women predominate, such as nursing and community health...
  • Playing the Long Game: How a Gender Lens Can Mitigate Harm Caused by Pandemics
    by Megan O'Donnell
    Working towards structural changes that will take longer to come to fruition, especially those that relate to reducing global inequality, is the only way to radically decrease...
  • How Will COVID-19 Affect Women and Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?
    by David Evans
    Policymakers should be thinking—and worried—about how COVID-19 is expected to disproportionately affect women and girls. Gender inequality can come into even starker focus...

Publications

  • COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Children: A Third Research Round Up...
    by Amber Peterman et al.
    This year, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence comes at a time when there is unprecedented global attention on violence against women and children (VAW/C). The...
  • COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Children: A Second Research Round Up
    by Amber Peterman et al.
    COVID-19 has raised the profile of violence against women and children (VAW/C) within the global discourse. Nine months after the emergence of COVID-19, global stakeholders...
  • Women’s Access to Cash Transfers in Light of COVID-19: The Case of Pakistan
    by Shelby Bourgault et al.
    In this policy note, we highlight Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program as a case study, as well as several other examples of cash transfer programs mobilized by...
  • Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 School Closures: Insights from Frontline...
    by Maryam Akmal et al.
    COVID-19 school closures pose significant operational and financial risks to frontline organizations delivering vital education services, including non-governmental...
  • Pandemics and Violence Against Women and Children
    by Amber Peterman et al.
    Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Pandemics are no...

Media Mentions

  • COVID-19 recovery provides a unique opportunity to close the gender gap (Devex)
    While it’s still too soon to know definitively what’s happening across the globe to women during the pandemic, data from 26,000 business owners and managers collected across...
  • Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality (Axios)
    The disproportionate effects of containment measures on female-dominant sectors, the heavier role of women in child and elder care, and an uptick in domestic violence are all...
  • More women forced to close businesses in pandemic amid warnings they will be...
    "Before Covid-19 hit, women’s labour force participation, access to finance, pay, and advancement were all already unequal to men’s, and the pandemic and global recession...
  • Child marriage worries rise amid coronavirus lockdown in Cameroon (The New...
    "Girls in developing countries are also at a substantial risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and dropping out once schools re-open, according to a new...
  • What We Know About Crises And Domestic Violence — And What That Could Mean...
    "According to a working paper by the Center for Global Development, the effects of unemployment on IPV vary across populations due to cultural differences, but in the U.S.,...
  • Teen pregnancy risk rises as schools shut for coronavirus in Africa (Reuters)
    Closing schools poses risks for children everywhere, from sexual violence to lack of mid-day meals, but the impact may be bigger in Africa, said Lee Crawfurd, a senior research...

Events

Promoting Gender Equality Through COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
Before COVID-19 hit, women’s labor force participation, access to finance, pay, and advancement were all already unequal to men’s, and the pandemic and global recession are...
COVID-19 Payments: Managing Risks, Ensuring Women’s Inclusion, and Communicating Clearly
This webinar responds to the question of how governments and humanitarian agencies can manage the risks associated with COVID-19 response payments, ensure women’s inclusion,...
Gender Based Violence in a Pandemic: Evidence to Inform Prevention and Response
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three women worldwide experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly perpetrated by an intimate partner. In recent times, lockdowns to...
Safeguarding Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to sexual and reproductive health, including contraceptive services, for women and girls who are disproportionately...
Online Event: Approaching COVID-19 Risk and Response through a Gender Lens
While the immediate impacts of COVID-19 are already apparent, some have yet to surface, and many of them will have different effects for different genders. Health systems,...

Contact

For more information, contact labiona@cgdev.org

Contact

For more information, contact labiona@cgdev.org

Experts

Alan Gelb
Alan Gelb is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His recent research includes aid and development outcomes, the transition from planned to market economies,...
Anit Mukherjee
Anit Mukherjee is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development where he works on issues of governance, public finance, and service delivery in developing countries....
Anita Käppeli
Anita Käppeli is director of Policy Outreach, Europe at CGD, based in Brussels. Prior to that, she led the Commitment to Development...
Carleigh Krubiner
Carleigh Krubiner is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, where she focuses on ethical issues surrounding equitable development and delivery of health...
Charles Kenny
Charles Kenny is a senior fellow and the director of technology and development at the Center for Global Development. His current work focuses on gender and development, the...
Erin Collinson
Erin Collinson is director of Policy Outreach at CGD. Prior to joining the CGD staff, she spent over five years working in the US Senate. Originally from...
Mayra Buvinic
Mayra Buvinic, an internationally recognized expert on gender and development and social development, is a senior fellow emeritus at the Center for Global Development and a...
Megan O'Donnell
Megan O’Donnell is the assistant director of CGD’s gender program and a senior policy analyst. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial...
Nancy Birdsall
Nancy Birdsall is president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a policy-oriented research institution that opened its doors in Washington, DC...
Nancy Lee
Nancy Lee is a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her work at CGD focuses...

Experts

  • Alan Gelb
    Alan Gelb is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His recent research includes aid and development outcomes, the transition from planned to market economies,...
  • Anit Mukherjee
    Anit Mukherjee is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development where he works on issues of governance, public finance, and service delivery in developing countries....
  • Anita Käppeli
    Anita Käppeli is director of Policy Outreach, Europe at CGD, based in Brussels. Prior to that, she led the Commitment to Development...
  • Carleigh Krubiner
    Carleigh Krubiner is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, where she focuses on ethical issues surrounding equitable development and delivery of health...
  • Charles Kenny
    Charles Kenny is a senior fellow and the director of technology and development at the Center for Global Development. His current work focuses on gender and development, the...
  • Erin Collinson
    Erin Collinson is director of Policy Outreach at CGD. Prior to joining the CGD staff, she spent over five years working in the US Senate. Originally from...
  • Mayra Buvinic
    Mayra Buvinic, an internationally recognized expert on gender and development and social development, is a senior fellow emeritus at the Center for Global Development and a...
  • Megan O'Donnell
    Megan O’Donnell is the assistant director of CGD’s gender program and a senior policy analyst. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial...
  • Nancy Birdsall
    Nancy Birdsall is president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a policy-oriented research institution that opened its doors in Washington, DC...
  • Nancy Lee
    Nancy Lee is a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her work at CGD focuses...

Acknowledgments

For more information, visit CGD's How We're Funded page.
Support for this initiative comes from the Gates Foundation.