COVID-19 rapid gender assessments
JUST LAUNCHED: a new UN Women study confirms that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shadow pandemic of violence against women. Read: Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19
As the pandemic forced governments to improvise responses, UN Women moved quickly to collect data on how COVID-19 was impacting women and men to inform decision-making. Between March 2020 and March 2021, rapid gender assessments (RGAs) were conducted in at least 52 countries. The RGAs focused on five areas of concern: 1) economic activities and resources; 2) unpaid domestic and care work; 3) access to goods and services, 4) emotional and physical wellbeing; and 5) relief measures.
The surveys confirmed that women and men are experiencing the pandemic differently. The findings have since been used to inform critical gender-responsive policies and recovery plans to build back better.
Below, RGA data across countries can be explored through regional groupings, with some indicators comparable at the global level.
Explore the data
|Region||Summary data||Micro data||Questionnaire|
|Asia and the Pacific||XLSX|
|Arab states||XLSX||CSV (4.1 MB)|
|Europe and Central Asia||XLSX||CSV (5.3 MB)|
|East and Southern Africa||XLSX||CSV (15.1 MB)|
|West and Central Africa||XLSX||CSV (4.2 MB)|
|Americas and the Caribbean||XLSX||CSV (1.4 MB)|
Asia & the Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
East & Southern Africa
West & Central Africa
Americas & the Caribbean
In 2020, there were 79.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. More than 1.7 million people died. But without sex-disaggregated data, these numbers tell us only part of the story. They are insufficient for understanding the unique impact of the crisis on women as compared to men. We need far more sex-disaggregated data to tell us how the situation is evolving, including differential economic impacts, differential care burdens, and the incidence of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Given this imperative, UN Women, through its global gender data programme Women Count, implemented Rapid Gender Assessment (RGA) surveys to close this information and knowledge gap. In partnership with the public sector and non-state actors, we supported data collection efforts to ensure that all people, particularly the most vulnerable women, were accounted for. We worked with national statistical offices to strengthen their capacity to collect and use gender-responsive data.
The general aim of the survey is to provide information on how the livelihoods and circumstances of women and men are affected by COVID-19. The results of the survey have informed UN Women’s own programming to respond to the crisis, and our advocacy to improve the well-being of women and girls, during and after the pandemic.
The results have also been used by some countries in policy-response formulation (Maldives), targeting of programming beneficiaries (Jordan and Georgia), resource mobilization (Ukraine and Georgia), and as a guide in producing other gender data (Philippines).
The regional and country estimates in the global dashboards may differ from the national/country reports due to harmonization of questions and response categories to ensure comparability within and across regions.
The survey covered the following common themes: knowledge of COVID-19, economic empowerment, access to basic services and safety, and unpaid care and domestic work. Some regions/countries have added questions based on their needs and priorities. These additional themes include: violence and safety, social protection, coping mechanisms, household food production, and disability/functional difficulty.
Given the nature of COVID-19 and related mobility restrictions, traditional ways of collecting information, such as face-to-face interviews with groups or individuals, were not possible. Several data collection options were given to participating countries, focusing on the use of online or telephone data sources. Specific details of the methodology can be found in the “Methodological Notes” section of this webpage.
The RGAs were made possible through public-private partnerships. A full list of partners is available.
No. The results are only representative of the population of phone subscribers only. In as much as we would like to make the survey as nationally representative as possible, we are very much limited by the data collection modalities.
In addition, results focus only on relative changes since the COVID-19 crisis. These are thus not comparable with, nor do they aim to replace, the more comprehensive statistics obtained from specialized household time-use surveys, as sampling frame and design, methods of data collection and instruments differ. A few questions identical to those in Demographic Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys were added to the questionnaire to provide opportunities to compare results, all caveats considered.
Data privacy is very important to us and we at UN Women are guided by the Principles Governing International Statistical Activities, particularly its confidentiality principle. That is: individual data collected will be kept strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes. For public-use files, we ensure the anonymity of the respondents before publishing.
RGAs are stand-alone surveys. However, in two regions, second round will be implemented but with a different (although still related) focus. For Asia and the Pacific, in partnership with Asian Development Bank, these will be conducted in: Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands. For Europe and Central Asia, these countries have ongoing second wave of RGAs: Georgia, Kosovo, and Moldova.
Aggregate estimates refer only to the 45 surveyed countries and do not represent regional or global averages. Two countries (Tanzania and Uganda) were excluded in East and Southern Africa; five countries (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Montenegro and Tajikistan) were excluded in Europe and Central Asia mainly due to significant differences in methodologies used with the 45 countries analyzed. Estimates are weighted using population data from the World Population Prospects 2019 of the UN Population Division.
The RGAs were conducted in 52 countries
- 9 countries in Arab States (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, State of Palestine, Yemen)
- 11 countries in Asia and the Pacific (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Thailand)
- 7 countries in East and Southern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda)
- 16 countries in Europe and Central Asia (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine)
- 3 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Chile, Colombia, Mexico)
- 6 countries in West and Central Africa (Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Cote d’ Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Senegal)
Data was collected between April 2020 and March 2021. Timing of surveys may explain differences across countries due to intensity of COVID-19 spread and related lockdown measures.
A global reference questionnaire was developed and used to promote the comparability of the Rapid Gender Assessments, to the extent possible. Several modifications and additions were nonetheless introduced when the surveys were actually conducted, to capture region- or country-specific context and priorities.
The ‘target population’ refers to both women and men, with the age group varying across regions and countries. Specifically, in all regions, the lower age limit was 18 years – except for Asia and the Pacific, where it is 10 years. However, the upper age limit varied across regions: 100 years in Asia and the Pacific; 88 and 92 for Chile and Mexico, respectively, in Latin America; 86, 90 and 99 years for Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Senegal, respectively, in West and Central Africa; while there was no upper age limit in Europe and Central Asia, East and Southern Africa, and the Arab States.
The data collection approach and, consequently, sampling frame also varied across regions. In Asia and the Pacific and Chile, randomly selected cell phone users were contacted through a short message service (SMS) with a link to a web-based survey. Europe and Central Asia, East and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa and Mexico conducted computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), in partnership with private research firms. In both approaches, samples were based on the lists of phone subscribers from the partner firms’ databases. Meanwhile, the Arab States Regional Office used a web-based system delivering anonymous opt-in surveys to random Internet users browsing online.
Sample sizes varied across regions, ranging from 1,436 (Lebanon) to 2,394 (Jordan) in the Arab States; 612 (Samoa) to 8,198 (Nepal) in Asia and the Pacific; 1,000 (Kyrgyzstan) to 2,202 (Kazakhstan) in Europe and Central Asia; 1,197 (Mexico) to 1,647 (Colombia) in Latin America and the Caribbean; 2,410 (Ethiopia) to 3,054 (Kenya) in East and Southern Africa; and from 2,400 (Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal) to 2,672 (Central Africa Republic) in West and Central Africa.
Last updated on: 13 October 2021