COVID-19 – Women Deliver

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How Women Deliver is Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

We know that disease outbreak affects women and men differently and that pandemics exacerbate gender inequalities for girls and women. That’s why Women Deliver continues to put a gender lens on all aspects of the response to COVID-19, ensuring the unique needs of girls and women are addressed, and their unique expertise is leveraged.

Since the first emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, we still see that girls and women, in all their intersecting identities, are playing an outsized role responding to the pandemic, including as frontline healthcare workers, caregivers at home, and mobilizers in their communities. As the crisis continues around the world, it is clear that if we truly want to deliver health, wellbeing, and dignity for all, girls and women, in all their intersecting identities, must be front and center in all pandemic response measures, in social and economic recovery efforts, in the equitable distribution of vaccines, and in how we strengthen our health systems post-pandemic. And we must continue to safeguard the progress we've made towards gender equality, including hard-won gains for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

At this pivotal time, the work of Women Deliver and that of our partners, advocates, and Young Leaders is more important than ever. Read our Top Ten Recommendations to build back a stronger, more gender-equal world.
Our Policy Advocacy:

Since the start of the pandemic, Women Deliver has continued to advocate for gender equality and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and women, while reinforcing the crucial importance of applying a gender lens to pandemic response and recovery plans. We have also adapted our ways of working to support our partners. For example:

  • We are producing and contributing to evidence-based communications and advocacy tools to highlight how girls and women are being affected by COVID-19 and what measures are needed to address short-term and long-term implications on girls and women.
  • We are continuing to engage partners in the current virtual environment, and regularly hold webinars and online discussions to fuel joint advocacy efforts.
    • In January 2021, we held a virtual multilingual launch event to unveil the findings of our multi-national survey looking at global public opinion and expectations for policymaking on gender equality, including as concerns gender-responsive pandemic response and recovery.
The Young Leaders Program:

The Young Leaders Program shifted its activities online as the COVID-19 pandemic made gathering in-person unsafe. Given that not all Young Leaders have consistent internet access, Women Deliver provided technology stipends to all Young Leaders in 2020, as well as additional stipends for virtual activities. Supported by technical assistance and coaching from Women Deliver staff and Regional Consultants, Young Leaders pivoted their advocacy projects in order to continue to drive impact within their communities despite pandemic-related constraints. Additionally, recognizing the confounding impacts of the pandemic on Young Leaders mental and physical health, program opportunities are flexible and are always accompanied by technical assistance and mentorship, as needed.

  • Despite facing unique and unprecedented challenges, including skyrocketing unemployment, constraints in educational opportunities, and barriers to their health and rights, young people are leading the way in response and recovery efforts. Read more about their powerful efforts — from menstrual hygiene product distribution, to health education, to advocating for safe working conditions for healthcare workers in this blog and in this Story Map.
The Deliver for Good Campaign: 

At the outset of the pandemic, the Deliver for Good (DfG) Campaign mobilized in digital space to call on governments and UN agencies to ensure a gender transformative response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Leveraging evidence and data from past pandemics, in April 2020, DfG mobilized rapidly to present the UN Secretary-General and heads of UN agencies with a private letter, urging the UN to apply a gender lens to response and recovery to the COVID-19 emergency, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an essential roadmap. Several of the recommendations from the Deliver for Good letter were reflected in the official UN Framework developed to guide UN country offices in their COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • The above-mentioned private letter was converted into an open sign-on statement from Deliver for Good Campaign members. The letter, which targets global decision-makers, including international organizations and national governments, garnered over 700 signatories, and resulted in the inclusion of gender markers within the parameters of several COVID-19 Funds. The open- sign on statement also informed four documents that have been crucial to the international multilateral response to COVID-19: (i) the UN Secretary-General’s policy brief, The Impact of COVID-19 on Women; (ii) the World Health Assembly resolution on COVID-19 response; (iii) the UN General Assembly Omnibus Resolution on Comprehensive and Coordinated Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic; and (iv) the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.Deliver for Good partners in Kenya and Senegal have been both frontline responders and high-level advocates to strengthen their countries resiliency and response to COVID-19.
  • Deliver for Good Kenya, led by the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), has been active in responding and abating the steep increase in gender-based violence (GBV) in Nairobi and select counties, including by creating a crisis hotline, organizing sensitization trainings with police and probation departments, advocating for more safe houses and services centers, and providing free legal aid to survivors.
Women Deliver 2023 Conference:

Women Deliver is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic globally to ensure the health and safety of all participants at WD2023. We are working closely with the Government of Rwanda to ensure that the Conference will be safe for all participants and Rwandans alike and that a convening of this size will not put a strain on Rwanda’s health system. There will be robust virtual engagement for those who would prefer to not attend WD2023 in-person. To learn more, please visit:

Women Deliver continues to advocate for a gender lens on COVID-19 recovery, push to fill disaggregated data gaps, secure the full and effective participation of girls and women in all aspects of pandemic response, and continue to advance gender equality. We are and will keep identifying and acting on advocacy opportunities, liaising with and listening to partners, collaborating with our many networks, and communicating across platforms to move the needle for gender equality. 

Relevant Reading:
Below is a collection of relevant pieces on the intersection of gender equality and COVID-19:



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