Six concrete measures to support women and girls in all their diversity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

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The AIDS response has taught the world the importance of protecting human rights and promoting gender equality when fighting a disease. COVID-19 has amplified that lesson. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNAIDS has repeated the call that governments must protect human rights and prevent and address gender-based violence—an issue that is even more vital now that lockdowns are putting women and girls at an even higher risk of intimate partner and sexual violence. Equally, UNAIDS has made it clear that sexual and reproductive health services should be recognized as the essential services they are.  To drive those messages to decision-making tables and to the front lines of the response, a new UNAIDS report shows how governments can confront the gendered and discriminatory impacts of COVID-19. Presenting six areas as imperatives to address the needs, and protect the rights, of women and girls during the pandemic, the report highlights the needs of women and girls in all their diversity, particularly the most marginalized, and the importance of access to essential health services. The neglected epidemic of gender-based violence, the misuse of criminal and punitive laws, the importance of education, health and well-being and the value of women’s work and making unpaid care work everybody’s work are also showcased.