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This brief examines how the COVID-19 crisis has further aggravated gender inequality in the Southern Mediterranean region. Zooming in on socio-economic and social consequences, it highlights some gender-sensitive measures taken throughout the region to mitigate the impact for women. It argues that gender equality needs to be a priority and an integral part of national agendas. Creating a flexible national framework that understands the needs of women, which are diverse across sectors and contexts, and that adapts to them is key.
A more inclusive public health response is needed, which takes into consideration the higher burden borne by women in the healthcare sector as well as with regards to their unpaid care responsibilities. Improving the collection and provision of sex-aggregated data is also a crucial requirement for gender-sensitive policymaking.
The brief also proposes cooperation schemes and regional adaptation of best practices to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a watershed moment for gender equality in the Mediterranean. Areas where cooperation can prove efficient include initiatives for changing mentalities, a regional mechanism to assist those in the informal sector, capacity building, and the digital sector.
This article is part of the CMI/FEMISE joint “COVID-19 Med Policy Brief Series”, aimed at addressing the urgent issue of the COVID-19 socio-economic effects and impact on the EU-Mediterranean region.