International humanitarian and development organization Oxfam urges the senate to put a gender lens on the measures being undertaken by various government agencies to address the specific and disproportionate impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and girls, and marginalized sectors.
In a position paper submitted to the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros, Oxfam said that “a gender perspective is needed to ensure response operations do not reinforce discrimination or enable impunity and violence to thrive.”
“We need to strengthen referral pathways and community care services for survivors of gender-based violence. We also need to ensure the availability of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health commodities and services that could be easily accessed by women and girls in a timely manner,” Oxfam said in its position paper.
Data from the Covid-19 Rapid Gender Assessment (RGA) survey by Oxfam, together with 26 organizations showed that only 2 out of 10 women have access to reproductive health services and that they usually go to the pharmacy to access their reproductive health needs.
Approximately 25% of women fear the lack of access to reporting/support systems to gender-based violence and 24% fear the lack of access to information with said systems. Additionally, 19% of women also fear physical violence by their partners.
Oxfam also said that women are disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the pandemic more than men.
“The pandemic’s negative economic impact is further worsened by emotional and mental stress since female respondents said that they think about the safety and well-being of their family while ensuring their own mental well-being during the lockdown,” Oxfam added in its position paper.
The RGA results also showed that while 82-percent or 49 women returning migrant worker respondents received government support or ‘ayuda’, 79-percent or 19 women of them stated that the cash assistance was not enough for their family’s daily needs.
Oxfam also stressed the increase in hours spent on unpaid care and domestic work by women, especially those who are single and young as well as those living in poverty who are recipients of the government’s 4Ps program both before and during the pandemic.
“We need to develop programs and advocacy campaigns that will recognize that care work is real work, provide services that will reduce the unpaid care and domestic work burdens by women, and enable redistribution of unpaid care work to other members of the family,” Oxfam Philippines Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Manager April Abello-Bulanadi said during the senate hearing.
Oxfam highlighted the issues during the joint hearing by the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations & Gender Equality, and the Committees on Health and Demography and Finance on Tuesday.
“A ‘better normal’ can only be achieved when the most affected people and communities, our women and girls and the marginalized sectors, are at the heart and start of all decisions and response actions that affect them,” she added. \\
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES AND COORDINATION:
April Abello-Bulanadi | Policy, Advocacy and Communications Manager, Oxfam Philippines
Mobile: +639062822562 I Email: Abulanadi@oxfam.org.uk