The recent Policy Brief of the Secretary General, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Women”, analysed the effects of COVID-19 on all sectors of women’s lives and most of their living experiences. It focused more on urban settings in developed and underdeveloped countries than on rural areas and natural disaster situations.
This commentary will highlight measures that the United Nations could undertake to help women in developing countries overcome the many negative impacts of COVID-19. Some of the recommendations set out below may not necessarily be related to COVID-19, as we are revisiting our global relations and economy with the aim of achieving more equity and attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Recommendations on COVID-19 and the economy
The United Nations could provide agricultural inputs to women in rural areas to enhance production and reduce workload through the use of appropriate technologies along the chain of agriculture production Working with national Governments, the Organization could disseminate information on how women’s immunity and ability to fight COVID-19 could be strengthened through the adoption of healthy diets that include nutritious rural produce.
The United Nations could assist in the establishment of “women shareholders multipurpose cooperatives” in both urban and rural settings. Such cooperatives could serve as channels for the dissemination of information and for the provision of assistance in dealing with COVID-19. The World Bank could help governments adopt cash transfer systems using mobile banking mechanisms to reach poor women in rural and urban areas. This would necessitate capacity-building for women in civil service, banks and cooperatives.