The Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID‑19 was launched on 25 March 2020 to facilitate a coordinated approach in the COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings. Among the guiding principles adopted in the GHRP is the need for attention to “gender equality, particularly to account for women’s and girls’ specific needs, risks and roles in the response as care providers, increased exposure to GBV with confinement measures, large numbers of front-line female health workers in the response, and key role as agents at the community level for communication on risks and community engagement.” The meaningful participation of women in needs assessments and response is also cited as an enabling factor. This recognition is an important first step and marks progress in humanitarian space.
This complementary gender programme from UN Women accompanies the GHRP and aims to respond to the gendered needs of most crisis-affected and at-risk women and girls in humanitarian contexts. Through this programme, in enabling the leadership of local women’s organizations, providing dedicated gender expertise to partners, generating knowledge, and coordinating gender working groups, UN Women ultimately seeks to support the whole of the humanitarian system to deliver better for women and girls in the midst of this global pandemic. The programme’s overall objective is to ensure that the most affected and at-risk women and girls play their fullest role in response to COVID-19 and are protected from its impacts.