Sunday Mail Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has called on stakeholders spearheading the fight against the novel coronavirus to come up with gender-sensitive measures to address women’s increased vulnerabilities during the ongoing lockdown.
Zimbabwe went into a lockdown on March 30 in a bid to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
Women, who make up a significant chunk of informal traders while also playing a leading role in care work, have been hit hard by the lockdown.
There are also fears the focus on the emergency response to the pandemic might divert resources away from reproductive health.
Cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse are reportedly on the increase as people are confined to their homes.
The ZGC said women constitute a larger proportion of health personnel on the frontlines.
Thus, if they are infected, the disease would also affect their families.
“The Gender Commission, therefore, calls on Government, the private sector and other service providers who are involved to remain cognisant of the gendered implications in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the response measures.
“Gender expertise should be integrated into response teams that are being deployed to ensure that the needs of women and children are fully considered, among those of other social groups.”
The ZGC is also pushing for clear guidelines for easier movement of women who take care of the sick or elderly, as well as those who are pregnant or lactating.
There was need for clear reporting mechanisms and measures to address gender-based violence in public as well as private spaces, it said.
While Zimbabwe is doubling down the fight against Covid-19, the ZGC said there was need to still retain focus on the needs of children, persons with disabilities and those living on the streets.
The commission also believes that women voices should be considered in order to ensure long-term gender-sensitive response mechanisms.