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Pandemic exacerbates gender inequality, warns UN chief


FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2020, file photo, a pair of women walk along the beach wearing face masks as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in Ogunquit, Maine.


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality between men and women, and reversed “decades of limited and fragile progress in gender equality and women’s rights,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday.

“Without a reaction to this, we risk losing a generation or more of progress,” Guterres warned a group of young women from civil society organizations who participated in a virtual meeting.

During the pandemic, he said, “women have been at the forefront of the response, as health personnel, teachers, essential personnel and in the care of their families and communities.” The majority of workers in the medical sector are made up of women, but less than a third occupy decision-making roles, he stressed.

Guterres said that the pandemic has impacted physical and mental health, education and the participation of the workforce. He highlighted reports from some parties on the increase in teenage pregnancies and gender violence.