The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating gender inequalities and increasing levels of discrimination, insecurity and violence for women across Europe.
A Guide for Europe: Protecting the rights of women and girls in times of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath provides governments with a roadmap for taking necessary measures to protect the rights of women and girls, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, especially those experiencing intersecting and persistent forms of discrimination.
European decision-makers must seize this moment to address both the immediate and long-term impact of the pandemic by implementing policies and other steps to eliminate further injustices and inequalities. Any short-, medium- or long-term measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic must uphold and protect human rights. Civil society organizations are calling for a recovery period that will deliver a shared vision of the future of Europe which is based on a just, feminist, sustainable, democratic and inclusive society. States must refrain from exploiting the pandemic to consolidate authoritarian power, to weaken democracy and the rule of law, or to trample on human rights. States must ensure that their responses include a gender-sensitive and intersectional approach in order to guarantee the rights of all women and girls to live free of discrimination and violence, and to access the essential sexual and reproductive health services they need.
This briefing was drafted together with Amnesty International and Women's Link Worldwide.