Extent of Violence Against Women During Pandemic Exposed
Parliamentarians from Africa and Asia met to discuss how to improve the conditions of women, girls, and youth during pandemics. Credit: APDABy Cecilia RussellJOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Mar 11 2021 (IPS) COVID-19 restrictions exposed women and girls to heightened abuse – revealing the conditions in which gender-based violence became the shadow pandemic on the continent, a recent webinar attended by parliamentarians from Africa and Asia heard. Gift Malunga, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative for Zambia, told delegates that during the lockdown in Zambia, 90% of calls to traditional hotlines between March and May 2020 were related to intimate partner violence. Malunga was talking at the webinar facilitated by the Asian Population and Development Association (APDA) and supported by UNFPA-JTF. This was the second event to enable inter-continental sharing of information on implementing ICPD25 commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar’s theme emphasised gender-based violence (GBV) during lockdowns. Asahiko Mihara, a member of parliament and Deputy President of Japan-AU Parliamentarians Friendship League, opened the forum by noting that women, as frontline workers, played a crucial role in managing the pandemic. However, the reallocation of resources, including SRH services, could be detrimental to global and national efforts to improve women’s health, he said. Malunga said while even before the pandemic sexual and gender-base...
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