25 June 2020
Category : Opinion
Icíar Bosch, Jimena Cazzaniga and Ana Cirujano, FIIAPP colleagues who are also part of the Foundation's gender group, tell us how they see gender equality as being in danger at the global level due to the Covid-19 crisis.FIIAPP's Women
It is a reality that the crisis generated by Covid-19 jeopardises the progress of the 2030 Agenda, especially the aspects linked to gender equality. In this complex situation, FIIAPP, through its know-how, is committed to not leaving women behind. As the figures demonstrate, women are more exposed to the virus and its social and economic impacts: approximately 70% of health staff in the world are women, as well as 80% of domestic and care personnel. On the other hand, caring for dependent relatives falls to a greater extent on women. As if this were not enough, it is women who represent the highest percentage of informal and part-time workers worldwide.
FIIAPP can provide solutions in the form of public policy that take the gender perspective into account
At FIIAPP, we have seen that strengthening public policies with a gender equality focus can aim to improve citizens’ lives. For example, during this crisis there is less access to sexual and reproductive health and a serious increase in gender-based violence. FIIAPP works in this field from different perspectives, such as supporting the creation of a Department of Gender Violence within AMERIPOL.
On the other hand, the EUROsociAL+ Programme’s Democratic Governance Area has implemented innovative actions such as incorporating the gender perspective in systems to promote transparency and access to information, the differential impact of corruption on women, access to justice for especially vulnerable groups of women or assisting Latin American countries in implementing budgets with a gender perspective as an instrument to reduce inequalities.
We consider that the need for women’s empowerment in times of crisis such as the current one is a central element when considering development strategies. Sometimes, the specific effects of a particular form of violence against them are added to this situation. Another example is occurring in the Sahel region, where women are seeing their rights being systematically limited. In the GAR-SI SAHEL project, FIIAPP has included a gender approach, not only to specifically protect women in conflict situations, but also as a commitment to the empowerment of women in the security forces and to increase the presence of women in these units.
It also happens that the general discourse that frames the coronavirus crisis is profoundly masculine and riddled with warlike similes, in contrast, communication with equity should be present and extend to the use of an inclusive language that enables the visibility of women and girls. At FIIAPP, both in its communication department and in various programmes, there is a firm commitment regarding the use of non-discriminatory language. For example, the EU-Cuba Experience Exchange project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba, takes care to use inclusive language every time it communicates through an invitation, presentation, etc.
This is why, at a time when the inclusion of the gender perspective is perceived as a secondary aspect, projects such as Living Together Without Discrimination are recognised as being valuable. The latter is an approach based on human rights and gender in which FIIAPP contributes technical assistance specialising in gender. After a thorough diagnosis, a series of tools were developed that allow all the people and institutions involved to integrate the gender perspective throughout the intervention. This enabled the existence of specific guidelines that ensure the incorporation of the gender perspective in each of the project’s tasks, processes, activities and results. As a result of all this work, the project has managed to ensure that gender-balanced candidate lists are positively considered in FIIAPP recruitment processes.
But despite the enormous amount of information produced on the Covid-19 crisis, there are very few analyses that contain data on the situation of women, who are once again invisible. The gender impact of the various crises, including the climate crisis, is an undeniable fact. In the framework of programmes managed by FIIAPP such as EUROCLIMA+, initiatives that take into account the gender perspective are promoted, specifically through the collection and use of information disaggregated by sex, the establishment of gender-sensitive indicators, the creation of methods to facilitate the participation and consultation of women, as well as monitoring, evaluation and accountability from a gender perspective.
As we mentioned before, women occupy a high percentage of precarious and informal jobs, many of them linked to unrecognised care tasks. The solution to the current crisis lies in repositioning these jobs and economically empowering women. For example, the Bridging the Gap (BtG) programme, being aware of such discrimination on multiple levels, is working to improve the employability of disabled women or those who have disabled children. Empowerment, as in other FIIAPP actions, is at the centre of BtG’s action to achieve women’s autonomy.
These initiatives, selected from a series of proposals compiled by the FIIAPP Knowledge Management team, demonstrate that the raw material is there. However, it is necessary, on the one hand, to systematise and make this work visible, and on the other, to put this experience at the service of a gender strategy. In this sense, FIIAPP is working, with the support of a group of professionals from within the organisation, on preparing and implementing its 1st Equality Plan. This tool has a double internal and external objective: to promote gender equality within the institution, as well as to equip the institution itself with the tools and processes that allow it to be systematically incorporated into the projects managed by the institution.
With the arrival of the pandemic and the implementation of different emergency measures to face it, the global challenge is clear: the widening of the gender gap is a reality. It is our responsibility to work to minimise it, the solution is to be found in gender equality.
Icíar Bosch, Jimena Cazzaniga and Ana Cirujano
Project technicians in the FIIAPP gender team
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