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Rapid Gender Assessment - A Summary of Early Gender Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, March 2020

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Across every sphere, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls.

On March 5, the Palestinian Authority (PA) confirmed the first four cases of a new coronavirus, 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or COVID-19, in the West Bank and promptly responded by declaring a state of emergency. The virus was identified on January 8, 2020 as originating from the city of Wuhan in China and has since spread to 210 countries, infecting more than 1.8 million people and caused fatalities all around the globe. COVID-19 can cause severe illness, with a case fatality rate as high as 3.5%. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a global health emergency.1 As of April 28, the Palestinian Ministry of Health was reporting 341 confirmed cases, 91 recovered, 12,342 in quarantine and two dead.

As in other parts of the world, Palestinian officials have shuttered businesses and restricted movement within the areas under their control in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus. The ongoing Israeli occupation and the barriers and checkpoints that characterize Israel’s overarching control of the area have hindered these efforts; such barriers are sometimes porous for individuals that can carry the virus but also block a coordinated government and humanitarian response. Regions of particular concern are East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Among those most impacted, however, are women and girls. Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex. All of these impacts are further amplified in contexts of fragility, conflict, refuge, displacement and emergencies where social cohesion is already undermined and institutional capacity and services are limited.

CARE Palestine has carried out a Rapid Gender Analysis in order to highlight for policymakers the importance of addressing the gender impacts of this pandemic and social prejudices and gender norms that discriminate against women in the public and private spheres. The analysis focuses on the following areas:

  • Decision-making & Coping Mechanisms

  • Protection with a Focus on Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

  • Political & Community Participation

  • Access to Financial Resources

  • Access to Humanitarian Basic Needs and Services & Information

This report is intended for policy makers, the Palestinian Authority, civil society organizations—local and international—community members, donors, and the international community at large. It is organized around broad themes and areas of focus of particular importance to those whose programming advances gender equality and reduces gender inequalities. It seeks to deepen the current gender analysis available by encompassing learning from global gender data available for the COVID-19 public health emergency.