CARE’s Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) draws from CARE’s experience in Afghanistan, and survey questionnaires with 320 people (50.3% women and 49.7% men), and key informant interview (KII) with 59 community leaders (44% women and 56% men) and 18 line representatives (50% women and 50% men) from Ministry of Women Affairs and Ministry of Public Health across seventeen (17) districts in nine (9) provinces in Afghanistan. The RGA points to ongoing severe economic, financial, health, and security impacts that will be especially worse for women and girls. The immediate impacts at the time of this assessment, center around the loss of income, food insecurity, lack of access to basic needs, limited mobility due to government lockdown, increased gender-based violence, and insecurity. The impacts – direct and indirect – fall disproportionally on the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women and girls, poor households, IDPs, female-headed households, and people with disabilities.
Gender-based inequality is extensive in the country – decades of conflict, food insecurity, and conservative patriarchal norms limit Afghan women and girl’s freedom of movement, decision-making power and access to health, education, and other basic services and resources. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating gender inequalities by restricting the limited rights women enjoy in the country and increasing their dependency. The findings from this assessment show that women are bearing the most significant burden of caring for their families; they have limited freedom of movement; face limited decision-making power at home and in the community and experience an increased level of gender-based violence. All the socio-economic and security implications of COVID-19 will severely and disproportionately impact women and girls. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that actors responding to the crises adapt their responses, strategies, and policies to ensure that they address the implications that the outbreak has for women and girls.