Women’s civil society organizations (CSOs) in Asia and the Pacific play a critical role in understanding, promoting and meeting the needs of women and girls on a variety of socioeconomic issues, including violence against women (VAW), migration, trafficking, heath and displacement. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the accompanying emergency measures, the role of CSOs has become both more essential and more tenuous. In order to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their work and the challenges they are facing, UN Women carried out a rapid assessment in the first half of April 2020.
UN Women found that almost three quarters (71%) of CSO respondents said that COVID-19 was affecting them somewhat or very negatively, and 12% have had to temporarily suspend activities altogether (Graph 2). At a time when families and individuals are experiencing high levels of economic and emotional pressure, the associated stress and uncertainty is exacerbating existing levels of violence against women and discrimination at a time when CSOs are less able to respond.
“We have to minimize our staff presence and cannot mobilize our teams for remote areas.”