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COVID-19 pandemic will push 47 million more women, girls into extreme poverty by 2021, says UN repor

By- Ankita Mohanty

Reversing decades of development made to uplift the demographic from poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic is set to inordinately affect the female population by pushing 47 million more women and girls into extreme poverty by 2021.

The new analysis by the UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) exclaimed that the COVID crisis would dramatically increase the poverty rate for women and widen the gap between men and women who are poverty-stricken. This particular census is highly discouraging because the poverty rate for women was expected to decrease by 2.7% between 2019 and 2021, but projections now point to an increase of 9.1% due to the pandemic and its fallout. This development makes us take two steps back while we thought we would take a step ahead. The projection paints a very dark picture as by 2021, for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty, there will be 118 women. This gap is expected to increase to 121 women per 100 men by 2030, further adding to the general plight.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the UN Women Executive Director mentions that increases in women's extreme poverty are a 'stark indictment of deep flaws in the ways we have constructed our societies and economies'. She says the evidence of multiple inequalities is critical to driving swift, restorative policy action that puts women at the heart of pandemic recovery.

While the pandemic has posed a serious threat to the prospects of exterminating poverty by the end of this decade, the reality is even wretched as these projections of increased poverty rates for women and girls only account for the descending revision of the gross domestic product (GDP), excluding other factors—such as women leaving the workforce due to childcare responsibilities—that may also affect the sex distribution of poverty.

The global pandemic has caused us more damage than we can ever think of. And without effective measures taken by the government to lessen the aftermaths of COVID-19, the future seems pretty bleak.

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