Celebrating Women’s Day in a COVID-19 World

Celebrating Women’s Day in a COVID-19 World

By Evelyn Birungi

On March 8th we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women during International Women’s Day. Marked annually women’s day is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about gender equality, lobby for accelerated gender parity or fundraise for female-focused charities.

This year, international women’s day is being celebrated under the theme “Women in leadership achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” highlighting the remarkable efforts by women to shape a more equitable future after COVID-19.

While the COVID-19 pandemic deepened and magnified various issues in our systems, it also highlighted the imbalance in gender roles and women’s access to decision making spaces. One of the biggest gaps illuminated was the absence of women in leadership positions making critical decisions about prevention and response to COVID-19. Taking a look at how the pandemic is disproportionately affecting women and girls from having to deal with paid work, housework and emotional work to the increased numbers of bender-based violence reports in the lockdown. The numbers reported were a reminder that like everything, pandemics are gendered in their impact.

This has not stopped women peace builders from providing crucial human security responses like informing the government about the needs of people in the community, or providing information to close gaps in health care and social services. Women are at the forefront of the crisis, where they show up as caregivers, doctors, nurses and community leaders making critical decisions.  Gender balanced leadership is an essential part of developing valuable pandemic responses. This COVD-19 experience reinforces fact that women must be leaders and considered critical actors in all efforts to achieve sustainable solutions to crises and promote true peace and security.

It is important that women are deliberately supported, acknowledged and included in leadership to start to rebuild a post pandemic life. This year’s theme is a reminder that despite the work put into advancing the women peace and security agenda, there’s still much more to be done.

And as we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we acknowledge the contributions and heavy responsibilities women carry. We stand to support women’s rights and continue to facilitate and champion women’s leadership. Every day is a chance to do the same and we hope you start today. 

Happy International Women’s Day. 

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