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Women lobbies want inclusion in drafting post-Covid recovery strategies

Rights groups have called on the government to ensure women are included in crafting strategies towards post-Covid-19 recovery in a bid to address urgent priorities.

This is after a Rapid Gender Assessment conducted by the UN Women last year found that nine in every 10 reported that their difficulties worsened due to the pandemic.

Similarly, six out of 10 said that they were unable to control their lives while seven out of 10 said the problems have piled so high that they are not able to overcome them.

The situation has been worsened by the rising burden of gender-based violence with one in every five women reporting feeling unsafe in their households, especially during the pandemic period.

The lobbies led by Community advocacy and Awareness Trust (CRAWN trust), the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), and ActionAid now want the government to increase labour rights protection for women working in the informal sector to ensure they are not discriminated against in the areas of wages, working hours or face gender-based violence.

Other associations joining the call include the University of Nairobi WEE Hub, Digital Oasis and CIO Africa, and On-Air Studios.

“Despite their agility to bounce back amidst the impact of Covid-19, women have continuously faced exclusion in decision-making positions,” Emily Owiti from the University of Nairobi WEE Hub said.

“In addition to all business-related challenges, women have had to do more at home. This includes unpaid childcare and domestic work, while some women at the same time are forced to ensure violence, including domestic violence which surged during the pandemic,” Owiti added.

The lobbies also want tailor-made financial facilities and stimulus packages that speak to the different needs of both rural and urban women adding that there is no better advocate for the needs than the women themselves.

“There is need for the government to proactively engage women and the marginalized in policy formulation as well as the operationalization of the gender policies in the counties,” Jacky Malomba, founder of Afriwomen connect said.

According to UN Women, women who are poor and marginalized face an even higher risk of Covid-19 transmission and fatalities, loss of livelihood, and increased violence.

Globally, 70 per cent of health workers and first responders are women, and yet, they are not at par with their male counterparts.

The pandemic-induced poverty surge will also widen the gender poverty gap – meaning, more women will be pushed into extreme poverty than men.