#4 Dialogue with experts: COVID-19 from the gender equality perspective – implications for Women, Peace and Security Agenda
CID NATO continues the series of dialogues with experts to analyze how the pandemic influences different verticals of national security. Today we discuss COVID-19 from the perspective of gender equality and implications for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda with Ms Svetlana Andrieș, Program Coordinator, UN Women Moldova; Ms Natalia Albu, Director, Strategic Research Center; Associate Professor, Military Academy; and Ms Elena Mârzac, Executive Director, CID NATO.
The experts note:
• The COVID-19 crisis is a security threat that requires our maximum mobilization and solidarity. Pandemics, like all public health crises, affect women and men differently, and COVID-19 is no exception.
• The COVID-19 pandemic does not nullify the implementation of security, social and gender equality policies and strategies, including the WPS Agenda, but instead calls for new solidarity efforts to ensure inclusive security.
• As the 20th anniversary of the WPS Agenda approaches, we have the opportunity to learn lessons from its implementation and to re-engage in ensuring that women going through conflict and crisis are heard, protected and empowered.
• The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the WPS Agenda are multiple. On the one hand, it is an impact that affects all countries, be it health, social problems or psychological state. But there are regional or local implications, depending on the state of security or the existence of an unresolved conflict.
• The research on pandemic indicates that women are often excluded from response planning and decision-making during these crises, leading to an acute inability to meet their needs.
• This pandemic, with its multiple security dimensions, demonstrates the centrality of the WPS Agenda to the contemporary global challenges of peace and security.
• Respect for gender equality is an indicator that the government promotes inclusive security, taking into account the security needs of different groups of citizens.
• Gender-sensitive policies and practices should be seen as a precondition for meeting the challenge before us and becoming a reflex for decision-makers involved in crisis management, preparedness, response and mitigation.
• To continue the implementation of existing policies, especially since the need to capitalize on Objective 2 of the WPS Implementation Program on “Increasing the opportunities for women and men in the system to combine work and family life” in a situation of self-isolation during COVID-19 .
• Implement measures to promote the inclusion and meaningful participation of women in any formal negotiations.
• Communicate the need to make housing safe for all and highlight the support services available to victims of domestic violence.
• To be aware of the burden of childcare and domestic work, as well as the psychological burden of this crisis in the household.
• To promote the culture of security, solidarity and mobilization of all state and non-state actors.
• Take steps to build empathy, understanding, trust and solidarity with managers and colleagues, as well as with our local communities, so that we can better understand and respond to the different needs of those in our environment. Avoiding stigma, incitement to hatred and discrimination.
• Eliminate gender stereotypes, including those regarding the redistribution of household chores and childcare.
• Provide health services, especially in conflict areas: sexual and reproductive health, pre- and post-natal health, ensuring the availability of contraceptives and women’s personal hygiene items.
• Adopting the best practices from NATO and EU member states.
The Information and Documentation Centre on NATO is a noncommercial, autonomous organization set up as a part of the 2006-2009 Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) Republic of Moldova-NATO. The Center promotes the Euro-Atlantic values and principles, informs the society about the multiple aspects of security, and supports the governmental institutions in security and defense sector reform.