The impact of COVID-19 on the achievement of gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa

Authored By:

Stella Nalwoga


April 28, 2023

For decades, gender equality has been the subject of high-level policy discussions globally. In 2015, the United Nations in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reiterated its goal to end gender-based discrimination (SDG5). Gender-based discrimination in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is often institutionalised through law, justice, and social-cultural norms which create disparity in women’s and men’s access to resources, status, and well-being, usually in favour of men. In turn, gender-based discrimination “deprives” SSA’s women participation in sustainable economic development. Moreover, measures taken to combat the global health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some barriers to women’s participation in economic development in SSA. This paper discusses how COVID-19 affected the achievement of gender equality in SSA by examining the macroeconomic implications of the pandemic on women’s labour productivity, human capital, and income inequality and poverty. Secondly, the paper discusses expected medium-term effects of the pandemic which could further impact the achievement of gender equality in SSA in the long-term. Finally, the paper proposes policy recommendations that could be adopted to counteract the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality in SSA.

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