COVID-19 and the Participation of Women and Women’s Rights Organisations in Decision-making

10th July 2020
Author: Ella Page, Lina Aghajanian

This rapid review examines available evidence around the political representation of women and women’s rights organisations in COVID-19 decision-making. In terms of the participation of women and women’s rights organisations in COVID-19 decision-making, the review finds the following: there is strong evidence that there are low levels of female participation at senior-level decision-making in COVID-19, across countries from the Global North and South, women’s rights organisations are suffering from decreased funding during the COVID-19 crisis, there is mixed evidence with regards to women’s rights organisations participating in COVID-19 decision-making and at the local and community levels, CARE’s rapid gender analyses show that women are being left out of COVID-19 response decision-making. Women are at a significant risk of the secondary effects of COVID-19. One significant challenge in the delivery of a gendered COVID-19 response is the lack of age and gender-disaggregated data. This rapid literature review does not find any evidence that the exclusion of women from decision-making is leading to gender gaps in the COVID-19 response. In terms of how to better engage women in the COVID-19 response, the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) suggests that women’s leadership and participation is treated as a critical cross-sector issue.

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Suggested Citation

Aghajanian, L. and Page, E. (2020). COVID-19 and the participation of women and women’s rights organisations in decision-making. K4D Helpdesk Report 850. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


10th July 2020


Continent: Global

Country: Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Sierra Leone