Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

When health crises like COVID-19 emerge, the shocks to economic, social, and health systems can have different implications for women and girls, with gendered impacts across various dimensions of wellbeing. This paper focuses on how the pandemic has been affecting women’s and girl’s health. It begins with a conceptual framework illustrating how the pandemic, associated response measures, economic contraction and different coping strategies intersect with underlying gender norms and inequality in ways that differentially affect the health and wellbeing of women and girls. It then provides a snapshot of the existing and evolving evidence as it relates to key health services and outcomes for women and girls in low- and middle-income countries, focusing primarily on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The paper examines some ways national governments have sought to maintain provision of essential health services and reviews the extent to which donor institutions have prioritized financial, technical, and other forms of support to mitigate disruptions. It concludes by highlighting existing gaps, opportunities, and promising strategies that donors and governments should pursue to address indirect harms to women’s and girl’s health during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

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