The COVID-19 Crisis and Gender Justice: Urgent Action Needed
COVID-19 has made plain the structural inequalities built into our world. While we’re still learning about the virus and its effects, it’s clear that women, girls, and marginalized communities will be particularly hard-hit.
We know already that communities are facing a global surge in domestic violence, restricted access to reproductive healthcare and rights, and a heightened care-giving burden.
Now more than ever, feminist solidarity, individual and collective care, and healing justice are needed.
Feminist solidarity and flexible funding are more important than ever.
For more than 30 years, Global Fund for Women’s core operating principal has been to trust women. We believe that our grantee partners know best how to address injustice, inequality, and need in their own communities. That’s why we have always offered flexible, general operating support – money our partners can use to keep the lights on in their offices, pay salaries, or respond to an unexpected crisis. (Read more below to learn about the work our grantee partners are doing right now in response to COVID-19.)
As the pandemic continues, we are more committed than ever to our model of feminist, flexible funding, and we remain dedicated to our grantee partners. We are encouraging grantee partners to use our support in whatever way they feel is best for their communities. We are also offering additional flexibility in reporting requirements, and we are increasing our Crisis Fund grantmaking focusing on response, recovery, and resilience, recognizing the different stages of the pandemic and the need to address immediate, mid, and long-term needs.
Raising your voice can save lives
We also have a responsibility to use our voices to speak out and hold governments accountable during this tumultuous time. That’s why we joined with our grantee partners to launch the online call to #LetThePrisonersOut, demanding that women human rights defenders be released from unjust detention in a moment of heightened risk.
Right now, there are tens of thousands of people currently imprisoned in Egypt and elsewhere who are being held without charges or trial, and who are at particular risk for COVID-19. Many of these detainees are women human rights defenders who have been targeted for their gender, activism, and political beliefs. These defenders should not be in prison in the first place, and must be released immediately.
Join Global Fund for Women and our partners in calling for Egypt to release women human rights defenders and other prisoners at risk during the coronavirus outbreak. Contact David Schenker, assistant secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Congresspersons who care about women and human rights, including Ilhan Omar (202-225-4755), Rashida Tlaib (202-225-5126), and Elizabeth Warren (202-224-4543) and urge them to act. Remind them that “Women human rights defenders in Egypt and beyond are targeted because of their gender, activism, and political beliefs. They should not be in prison in the first place, and given the heightened risk posed by COVID-19, should be released immediately. Join the call and do what is in your power to save lives.”
We stand, now and always, with our grantee partners.
Gender justice movements are responding and adapting to the current moment, and we are so incredibly inspired by the work they are doing. We know from past crisis work that typically, disaster relief often neglects the needs of women, girls, gender nonconforming people, and other marginalized communities. But when gender justice groups lead recovery, these moments can offer an opportunity to build a new, more equal, world.
Global Fund for Women’s grantee partners are directly responding to the COVID-19 crisis in their communities today while building systems for a more fair and just future. They are doing this by:
- Running help lines for victims of domestic violence during shelter-in-place orders
- Working to maintain reproductive health services and abortion access while women must stay at home due to COVID-19
- Organizing online while public protests and street mobilizing have stopped to keep momentum going for political change and accountability
- Doubling down on racial justice work in response to increased police brutality against Black queer women in Brazil amid the pandemic
- Speaking out against racist responses to COVID-19 in India and fighting prejudice against Muslim communities
- Working to ensure the protection of Palestinians in the LGBTQI+ community from violence stemming from the impact of COVID-19, physical isolation, and occupation
- Creating informational booklets and making masks and disinfectant in Indonesia
- Supporting survivors of the growing and brutal violence against transgender women under quarantine situations in Guatemala
- Organizing Garifuna communities in Honduras to establish centers to offer information, responses, and responses to COVID-19
- Educating on the crisis and awareness-raising in East Africa, where LGBTQI+ people are wrongly persecuted as vectors of COVID-19
Our grantee partners are working across the globe to support their communities during the pandemic. We held a webinar “Feminists Leading Revolutions” on how gender justice movements are responding to this crisis.
We stand with you, too. Let us know – what is #Fundamental to you?
With many of us spending more time at home, a dynamic new resource may offer the opportunity to stay connected with the people and issues that matter. The award-winning docuseries, Fundamental: Gender Justice. No Exceptions. follows activists and community leaders around the globe who are standing up for our fundamental human rights, working on issues from ending child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan to pursuing LGBTQI+ liberation in Georgia.
The activists featured in Fundamental are leading their communities’ efforts on a variety of gender justice issues, and their response to the COVID-19 crisis is no exception. The leaders in the films are at the frontlines of fighting for gender justice during the pandemic, and mobilizing to write new futures for themselves, their societies, and the world.
In this unprecedented moment, it’s critical to ensure the voices of women, girls, and marginalized communities are heard. Stories and film have a unique ability to bridge divides and bring us together as part of something bigger than ourselves – to connect us and create empathy during perilous times. To that end, we hope the Fundamental films serve as tools for organizations and educators to foster connection and spark dialogue. See the films here and sign up to host an online screening and receive educational toolkits here.
Follow us on social media to receive more updates on the COVID-19 crisis and gender justice movements around the world.
Support Gender Justice in Times of Crisis
Gender justice activists around the globe are serving their communities in times of crisis. Make a donation today to support this critical work and ensure that movements for gender justice remain strong, no matter what comes their way.