Impact of Covid-19 on Women, Report Launch

Report Launch Event in Islamabad - 8th December, 2021

On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, a report launch ceremony was conducted at the Marriott Hotel Islamabad, with Dr. Shireen M Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights, as the Chief Guest and Dr. Nausheen Hamid as the Guest of Honour. The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) co-hosted the event as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. 

The event centred on the effects of COVID-19 on society as a whole, particularly on women, with an emphasis on the growth in GBV and domestic abuse cases throughout the epidemic. It was a global phenomena in which strain and stress caused by COVID-19's influence on the economy and jobs led to an increase in intolerance and lack of patience, particularly among households. The report's co-authors, Khawar Mumtaz and Kausar S. Khan, commented on the report's conclusions and touched on the short and long-term recommendations for the provincial and federal governments' consideration.

Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of National Health Services, discussed the government's successful strategy for combating Covid-19, which has resulted in Pakistan outperforming its neighbours. The Minister for Human Rights also discussed the government of Pakistan's tremendous efforts to reduce COVID-19's direct medical effects, but she also noted COVID-19's societal impact, particularly on Pakistani women. She emphasised the importance of strengthening existing complaint and settlement processes as well as improving women's access to GBV services, as well as the urgent need to mainstream the topic of GBV.

Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar, Chairperson NCSW, also briefed the attendees about Pakistan's dismal worldwide status in terms of GBV indicators, where the country is placed 151 out of 153 countries in the 2020 WEF Global Gender Gap Index and 152 out of 189 countries in the UNDP Gender Inequality Index. She also praised the Punjab PCSW-WDD Helpline, the MOHR's Helpline, the DRF National Helpline, and the Sindh Legal Advisory Call Centre for their tireless efforts to combat GBV in Pakistan, particularly during the pandemic.

In his remarks to the audience, UNFPA Representative Dr. Bakhtior Kadirov stated that UNFPA will continue to engage with the Government of Pakistan to stop gender-based violence by generating the necessary data, strengthening institutions, and enacting legislation. Safety and protection procedures which are coordinated are also essential. Women and girls must feel safe and not be afraid of violence or coercion.