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

  • The Case for “Cash, Care, and Data”
    Two years into a global pandemic, the world is still trying to contain the virus as well as make up lost ground on economic and so...
  • IDA20 Gender Commitments
    In December 2021, World Bank shareholders came together for the final meeting on the IDA20 replenishment with a critical opportuni...
  • CGD’s Growing Focus on Gender Equality
    This month marks the one-year anniversary of CGD’s COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative. Through the initiative, my colleagu...
  • The Social and Economic Gendered Impacts of COVID-19
    This blog reviews research covered in this year’s Birdsall House Conference on Women, which is available to watch online at your c...
  • Safe Access to Abortion
    Evidence shows that, with some exceptions, Texas and the U.S. are running counter to a global trend to expand abortion rights. Ove...
  • Development Banks Must Prioritize Childcare
    Multilateral development banks (MDBs) have an important role to play to ensure that women and girls don’t get left behind in COVID...
  • Women's Economic Empowerment in India: CGD Podcast
    Megan O'Donnell of CGD and Soumya Kapoor of IWWAGE discuss breaking down the barriers that keep Indian women from the workforce, t...
  • Gender and Social Protection in the Era of COVID-19
    Through CGD’s COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative, the Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice Helpline (SP...
  • Did You Hear What Melinda French Gates Said Today?
    Today, Melinda French Gates announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will make a five year $650 million commitment t...
  • How to Promote Young Women’s Resilience in the Face of COVID-19 Induced Economic Shocks
    Good stories amid the devastation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are both rare and important to document.  So when I ...
  • Seizing the Generation Equality Moment
    The Generation Equality Action Coalitions’ Blueprints identify intersectionality as a core principle, alongside feminist leadershi...
  • How Can We Hold Commitment Makers Accountable? Reflections Ahead of the Paris Generation Equality Forum
    As the Paris convening of the Generation Equality Forum draws near, I revisit the key takeaways of that note and draw out implicat...
  • Addressing Violence against Women and Children during COVID-19
    On March 20, President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, aimed at preventing and combatti...
  • From Mexico City to Paris: Generation Equality Needs Evidence-Based Commitments
    Women’s History Month came to a close last week with the first virtual convening of the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico ...
  • Are Multilateral Development Banks Doing Enough to Close COVID Gender Gaps?
    The evidence to date suggests that the pandemic and resulting global recession have exacerbated pre-existing gender inequalities i...

Publications

  • IDB COVID-19 Response Projects and Gender Integration
    This paper aims to determine the extent to which gender was considered in the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) operations a...
  • COVID-19 and Women and Girls’ Health in Low and Middle-Income Countries
    In an updated review of how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting women’s and girls’ health in low- and middle-income contexts,...
  • The Impacts of COVID-19 on Women’s Social and Economic Outcomes
    In an updated review on the gendered social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, we examine 49 studies identified by our s...
  • A Review of Multilateral Development Banks’ Investments in Childcare
    Using project data from eight multilateral development banks, we compile all projects with a childcare component from 2000 to June...
  • Gendered Impacts: MDB Social Protection Response to COVID
    Recent work by the CGD researchers through the COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has ...
  • The Indirect Health Effects of COVID-19
    Diana Beatriz S. Bayani et al.
    COVID-19 has caused significant morbidity and mortality, both directly and indirectly via the disruption to routine health service...
  • New Estimates of the Impact of COVID-19 on Women’s Jobs and Enterprises
    The ILO estimates that the number of women employed in low- and middle-income countries fell 4.7 percent between 2019 and 202...
  • Promoting an Inclusive Recovery by Prioritizing Gender
    The World Bank estimates that the global pandemic could push between 55 and 63 million people into extreme poverty in IDA (the Int...
  • Violence Against Women and Children During COVID-19—One Year On and 100 Papers In
    A year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, we take stock of an increasingly diverse set of new studi...
  • Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment during COVID-19
    When health crises like COVID-19 emerge, the shocks to economic, social, and health systems can have different implications for wo...
  • Gender and Social Protection in the COVID-19 Context
    This paper, part of a series documenting the gendered dimensions of the COVID-19 crisis, focuses on the role of social protection ...
  • Addressing COVID-19's Indirect Health Impacts for Women and Girls
    The paper examines some ways national governments have sought to maintain provision of essential health services and reviews the e...
  • Addressing COVID-19's Indirect Health Impacts for Women and Girls
    In this policy brief, we summarize the findings of a CGD working paper, Addressing the COVID-19 Crisis’s Indirect Health Impacts f...
  • The Impacts of Health Crises on Women & Girls
    This paper presents a conceptual framework on the effects of health crises on women and girls with an eye toward understanding the...
  • Brief: Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment during COVID-19
    In this policy brief, we summarize the findings of a CGD working paper, Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in the COVID-19 Con...

Media Mentions

  • Time for Solutions to the Pandemic's Gendered Consequences
    The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects across the globe, but the data and evidence show that women have borne the brunt...
  • Development Banks Must Prioritize Childcare
    Lack of access to quality childcare has been a longstanding issue, especially in low- and middle-income countries, with consequenc...
  • The Biden administration must think globally about child care
    Access to affordable child care is a vital part of the Biden domestic policy agenda, and for a good reason: Good child care polici...
  • Women Bear the Brunt of COVID-19 Crisis, New Analysis Finds
    “What was anecdotal is now increasingly backed up by rigorous data and evidence: women have been disproportionately hurt by the CO...
  • COVID-19 recovery provides a unique opportunity to close the gender gap
    While it’s still too soon to know definitively what’s happening across the globe to women during the pandemic, data from 26,000 bu...
  • Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality
    The disproportionate effects of containment measures on female-dominant sectors, the heavier role of women in child and elder care...
  • More women forced to close businesses in pandemic amid warnings they will be ‘left behind’
    "Before Covid-19 hit, women’s labour force participation, access to finance, pay, and advancement were all already unequal to men’...
  • Child marriage worries rise amid coronavirus lockdown in Cameroon
    "Girls in developing countries are also at a substantial risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and dropping out once sch...
  • What We Know About Crises And Domestic Violence — And What That Could Mean For COVID-19
    "According to a working paper by the Center for Global Development, the effects of unemployment on IPV vary across populations&nbs...
  • 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 i...

Events

  • COVID as a Gendered Crisis
    In early 2021, CGD launched the COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative with two objectives: increase the importance of gender ...
  • 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,...
  • COVID-19 Payments: Managing Risks and Ensuring Women’s Inclusion
    This webinar responds to the question of how governments and humanitarian agencies can manage the risks associated with COVID-19 r...
  • Gender Based Violence in a Pandemic
    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three women worldwide experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly perpetrated by an int...
  • Safeguarding Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health during COVID
    Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to sexual and reproductive health, including contraceptive services, for ...
  • 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 effec...
  • COVID as a Gendered Crisis
    In early 2021, CGD launched the COVID-19 Gender and Development Initiative with two objectives: increase the importance of gender ...
  • 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,...
  • COVID-19 Payments: Managing Risks and Ensuring Women’s Inclusion
    This webinar responds to the question of how governments and humanitarian agencies can manage the risks associated with COVID-19 r...
  • Gender Based Violence in a Pandemic
    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three women worldwide experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly perpetrated by an int...
  • Safeguarding Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health during COVID
    Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to sexual and reproductive health, including contraceptive services, for ...
  • 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 effec...

Contact

For more information, contact modonnell@cgdev.org

Contact

For more information, contact modonnell@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, the d...
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. His cur...
Anita Käppeli
Anita Käppeli is director of Policy Outreach, Europe at CGD, based in Brussels. Prior to that, she led the Commitment to Development Index (CDI). Before joining CGD, Käppeli spent ...
Carleigh Krubiner
Carleigh Krubiner is a bioethicist and non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development. Her work focuses on ethical issues surrounding equity in the development and delive...
Charles Kenny
Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His current work focuses on global economic prospects, gender and development, and development finance. He is...
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 the Chicago area, Col...
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 senior ...
Megan O'Donnell
Megan O’Donnell is a policy fellow and assistant director for gender at CGD. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and me...
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 in Oct...
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 on the ...

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, the d...
  • 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. His cur...
  • Anita Käppeli
    Anita Käppeli is director of Policy Outreach, Europe at CGD, based in Brussels. Prior to that, she led the Commitment to Development Index (CDI). Before joining CGD, Käppeli spent ...
  • Carleigh Krubiner
    Carleigh Krubiner is a bioethicist and non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development. Her work focuses on ethical issues surrounding equity in the development and delive...
  • Charles Kenny
    Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His current work focuses on global economic prospects, gender and development, and development finance. He is...
  • 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 the Chicago area, Col...
  • 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 senior ...
  • Megan O'Donnell
    Megan O’Donnell is a policy fellow and assistant director for gender at CGD. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and me...
  • 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 in Oct...
  • 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 on the ...

Acknowledgments

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