Statement by the Arab Women Organization On Coronavirus Crisis

Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus that is sweeping the world today, the Arab Women Organization, while praying to God to save humanity from this terrible danger, sends a message of support and solidarity to all women around the world and to the Arab Women in particular, as they have witnessed increasing family, social and economic burdens. 

Although the major developments occurred in the field of women rights over the past decades, women are still the most fragile and the least able to adapt to the difficult situations emerging in times of disasters and major societal crisis.

The Coronavirus pandemic have great consequences on women on different fields and levels:

Economically: There is no doubt that this crisis will have its profound negative effects on the conditions and incomes of several groups of women:

  • it will lead more women into the informal labor market as a result of the disbursement from service that employers - as a result of the recession - turn to women, themselves in the first place, or to their husbands, and increase the percentage of women who become the sole supporter for their families.
  • There is also the negative impact that the crisis will have on women entrepreneurs, who are already struggling in a difficult competitive environment without adequate means of support and financing.
  • Women working in the informal market, such as street vendors and others, will be at risk of losing their work because of the precautionary measures taken against the epidemic, in addition to being exposed to the epidemic itself due to the loss of means of protection.

Socially: The Coronavirus crisis has enormous societal consequences for women, including:

  • Double the burdens placed on women within the family as the central person and usually responsible for the health and protection of the family. Especially since families are obliged to quarantine.
  • Increased roles assigned to women, espeacilly  from the middle class, including, in addition to the protective role (cleaning, sterilization, etc.), an educational role due to school closures, and adopting a distance learning system. In this context, it's worthy to mention that some governments and institutions have implemented a flexible work system that allows women to adapt to their additional burdens in their families.
  • Increased domestic violence against women and girls, which comes as an important side effect,  with the husband staying longer at home due to the curfew imposed by several countries. This requires a greater attention to the activation of the legal frameworks concerning protecting women from violence.

The health aspects: the Arab Women Organization is deeply concerned with:

  • Sufficient health awareness for women, especially the poor
  • The adequacy of social and health security systems in providing support to poor women who became victims of Corona.
  • Conditions of women suffering from chronic and serious diseases, how are taken into consideration, especially in these urgent circumstances.

Women in Armed Conflict Zone:
Coronavirus carries a very high risk for refugee and displaced women and children in the absence of the required clean environment. It is a huge issue and no single entity or individual assistance can address it. Noting  that indolence in dealing with these situations will have disastrous effects on the international community as a whole.

In this disturbing scene, it is necessary to mention the bright aspects that the presence of women constitutes, In addition to their growing role in family, women appear in the front lines between doctors, nurses and health service providers. Women also appear as owners of several charitable initiatives aimed at supporting families economically affected by the crisis.

The Arab Women Organization reiterates its commitment to women and girls in the Arab world, and calls for an interactive and fruitful dialogue to discuss all aspects of this crisis, headed by research and academic centers, civil society,  national mechanisms and international cooperation institutions concerned with the status of women, in order to empower  women and girls to enhance their resilience in times of disasters, and accordingly , to enhance the resilience of society as a whole.

What we are missing mostly in fighting this epidemic is the ability to respond quickly by mechanisms, which requires far-reaching public policies that anticipate disasters, so people are prepared through awareness, education, and training, equipment and with adequate responsive legislations.

We must step up efforts to provide services during this disaster, and we must also work to fortify our societies, especially women, through adopting more awareness-raising and training programs to increase their resilience. the Arab Women Organization is pledged to exert all efforts required to fulfill its duty in empowering women during this crisis with cooperation with all relevant national, civil and international institutions.



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