(May 15th, 2020) The COVID-19 crisis has created some new and unprecedented challenges for women worldwide while exacerbating violations of their human rights due to existing structural discrimination. The urgency of this context prompted the Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR) to coordinate a global statement in mid-March calling for the adoption of a feminist policy to address the COVID-19 crisis, also known as the Feminist COVID-19 Policy. The policy statement contains recommendations for governments to address the effects of COVID-19 in accordance with a human rights framework. As of May 1, 2020, the Feminist COVID-19 Policy has been endorsed by over 1600 individuals, women’s organizations and networks in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and the Pacific Islands.
We are happy to share that this policy statement has been utilized extensively by women’s and human rights advocates, organizations and networks at the local level to advance their own strategies to ensure that women’s rights are protected as governments introduce a variety of measures to address COVID-19.
Looking for some inspiration?
Check out the steps taken by our members and others to utilize this policy statement:
o The Center for Migrant Advocacy, Phils. Inc. from Philippines created an amazing booklet in English and Tagalog (below), based on the Feminist COVID-19 Policy, to call on States for the adoption of a feminist policy to address the pandemic.
o Asia-Japan’s Women’s Resource Center (Japan), Helsinški Parlament Građana Banja Luka (Serbia), Moscow Women’s Museum (Russia), Mujeres+Mujeres (Mexico) and Equipop (France) translated the Feminist COVID-19 Policy to Japanese, Serbian, Russian, Spanish and French respectively so that it could be disseminated to more people and increase their understanding of the gendered impact of this crisis on women and girls.
o Aliansi Perempuan Bangkit (Emergence Women Alliance of Indonesia) adopted a tailored version of the Feminist COVID-19 Policy in Bahasa Indonesia to reflect their social and political contexts and specific concerns. Aliansi Perempuan Bangkit and around twenty women’s organizations that endorsed this local policy statement wanted to make sure that the humanitarian policies adopted to mitigate COVID-19 in Indonesia were developed according to a gender and equality perspective.
o Política con Manzanas from Ecuador (below) and Athena from Kenya used the Feminist COVID-19 Policy to develop beautiful infographics to give visibility on the gendered impact of this crisis and communicate key messages to a wider virtual audience.
o Templates of letters provided along with the Feminist COVID-19 Policy, in English and in Spanish, were used by organizations to advocacy with their local authorities:
- Mujeres+Mujeres from Mexico adapted the template letter to request the governor, mayors and deputies of Nuevo León to implement a local version of the feminist policy statement to address COVID-19.
- Equality Bahamas used an adapted version of the Feminist COVID-19 Policy and the template letter in English to approach the Prime Minister, the Minister of Social Services, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs and the civil society representative on the National Committee, to request the prioritization of people in vulnerable situation, including women, the elderly, disabled, LGBT+, migrants and unhoused people. Press coverage of this intervention can be found in The Tribune and Eye Witness News.
o Aswat Nissa from Tunisia tailored the Feminist COVID-19 Policy to their own needs. Then they drafted an open letter addressed to the Tunisian Prime Minister asking for the adoption of a feminist policy to address COVID-19 and disseminated it among civil society organizations. Over thirty NGOs and several women’s organizations and activists endorsed this call. The open letter attracted the attention of the media. Aswat Nissa and their allies subsequently secured a meeting with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to discuss the need to adopt a women’s policy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Aswat Nissa and other organizations are following up to ensure the government’s commitments are fulfilled. They continue disseminating information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls in Tunisia. This important work has been featured by the BBC. More information is available here.
o Activists in different regions have authored blog posts highlighting a vast array of collective responses from global feminist movements -including the Feminist COVID-19 Policy- while calling on States for immediate action in response to the pandemic.
- Lina Abou Habib (Gender at Work) writes, “[FAR’s] statement proposes specific ways to address existing inequalities and injustices coupled with a long history of exclusion and absence and/or denial of social, economic, cultural, and political rights.
- Bridget Burns (WEDO) and Emilia Reyes (Equidad de Género) emphasize that, global solidarity “is the starting point to envision the just and equitable post-pandemic future we want” and to achieve it we need to promote feminist collective responses like FAR’s Call for Feminist COVID-19 Policy.
- Amber Parkes, Anam Parvez and Dana Stefov (Oxfam) share their optimism by pointing out that, “we are already witnessing green shoots through the cracks of our extractive economic system in the form of solidarity initiatives, community support, and local organizing.” They note that, “these efforts need to be backed up with systemic political and economic change that is transformative and informed by science, justice and women’s voices”. To illustrate this point they refer to FAR’s policy statement.
It is not too late to get involved!
TRANSLATE! TAILOR! DISSEMINATE! MOBILIZE! COORDINATE! ADVOCATE!
Step 1: If you have not done so yet, you can endorse the Feminist COVID-19 Policy statement here.
Step 2: Share the policy statement, which is now available in five other languages, on all your social media platforms.
Step 3: Write to your local authorities (using our adaptable templates) and mobilize your allies to engage in a constructive dialogue about the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls in your community and demand appropriate action.
Step 4: Share feminist responses, good practices, resources and write blog posts and articles to inspire other activists to keep on promoting change.
We are beginning to see how FAR’s Feminist COVID-19 Policy has contributed to strengthening dialogue and accountability towards ensuring that the official responses to COVID-19 follow a human right and a feminist approach. Women’s rights activists, organizations and networks are providing much needed leadership by collaborating with allies to demand that their local authorities immediately adopt measures that take into account the specific and disproportionate impact of this crisis on women and girls.
Share your story on how you’ve been able to mobilize your community by using FAR’s statement policy! Email us at email@example.com to be featured on our website.