COVID-19 has been declared a public health emergency of international concern and a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. This global threat to health security underscores the urgent need to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 and the need to massively scale up international cooperation to deliver on SDG 3. It also reveals what is less obvious, but no less urgent: how health emergencies such as COVID-19, and the response to them, can exacerbate gender inequality and derail hard-won progress not only on SDG 3 but on all of the SDGs. This Spotlight paper presents the latest evidence on the gendered impact of the pandemic, highlights potential and emerging trends, and reflects on the long-term impact of the crisis on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
First, it presents key facts and figures relating to the gendered impacts of COVID-19. Second, it reflects on the health impacts of COVID-19 on SDG 3 targets. Third, it explores the socioeconomic and political implications of COVID-19 on women and gender across five of the Goals: SDG 1 (poverty), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (reduced inequalities). Fourth, it addresses the intersection of COVID-19 and other inequalities, showcasing the close links with SDGs 5, 6, 10 and 11. The Spotlight concludes by outlining policy priorities drawn from the evidence presented.