Rapid Gender Assessment shows that impacts of COVID-19 crisis are increasing gender inequalities in BiH

In preparation to COVID-19 response, UN Women in BiH conducted two waves of the Rapid Gender Assessment of COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The results of the second wave of the assessment were presented online today to government representatives and international partners. The results of the assessment show that the impacts and implications of COVID-19 are different for women and men, and that they are exacerbating the existing gender inequalities in BiH.

First wave of the Rapid Gender Assessment was conducted in May 2020 to prepare for the COVID-19 response. It was followed by the second wave, conducted in July 2020, to monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the lives of women and men. The focus of the assessment was to find out how women’s lives were impacted and have changed in the face of the pandemic, with the goal to understand and address the main challenges and different dimensions of how women and men are being affected by and cope with the global pandemic. The assessment also focused on economic empowerment and vulnerability.

Analysis that was presented today finds that women and men are suffering from a multitude of problems due to COVID-19. These include adverse effects on the economic wellbeing of individuals and households, at the front of which are women and girls. As women make up the majority of the poor, they are more vulnerable in situations of loss of job opportunities. Women are hit harder by the economic impacts caused by COVID-19, and they are also experiencing an increase burden in unpaid household and care work.

“As COVID-19 exposes structural fragilities and exacerbates gender inequality, our response must focus on addressing the vulnerabilities created or deepened by the pandemic. The UN has provided substantial support in BiH with over $41 million of repurposed and new programmes for COVID19-related actions, with the generous support of our donors and partners. These efforts focus on priority areas requiring immediate action: social protection, loss of jobs due to reduced economic activity, education, continued essential health services and so forth”, said dr. Ingrid Macdonald, United Nations Resident Coordinator in BiH.

The Rapid Gender Assessment serves as the key analytical resource to support evidence-based advice for informing broader national socio-economic impact analysis of the crisis and planned government policies and measures.

“UN Women has closely followed the political and economic response to COVID-19, and we have been working with partners to ensure we have an accurate picture of the different ways how women and men were impacted. Unfortunately, the response has not measured up; it has not addressed serious challenges faced by women; it has strengthened the bias that already exists in the system. Women have been hugely affected with loss of jobs; support to rural women and women entrepreneurs has been cut; and social benefits reduced. This rapid assessment is one important tool to help decision-making in the short term. Unless progress on gender equality is accelerated, especially in the economy, the global community will forgo the catalytic effect that gender equality has on economic and sustainable development, and achievement of the 2030 Agenda,” said David Saunders, UN Women Representative in BiH.

The assessments conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina are part of the integrated support package that the United Nations is leveraging across its agencies, funds and programs. Over 30 cross-sectoral assessments aim to shape a strong, substantive programmatic response to the COVID-19 impacts in BiH. For the United Nations in BiH, the overall focus is on how to best support and contribute to the important efforts by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to build back better, fairer, green and inclusive with a focus on Agenda2030 and ensuring no one is left behind.

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UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women