In conclusion of the activities of the 16-day campaign on violence against women and girls, the National Council for Women, in partnership with Plan International Egypt, organized a virtual conference, entitled “Protecting women and young women from violence in light of COVID-19: challenges, opportunities and achievements”, on 14 December.
The aim of the conference was to analyze the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls in the Middle East and North Africa region, and how to protect themselves from all forms of gender-based violence.
The conference indicated that women and girls are increasingly exposed to various forms of violence as one of the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. These forms include domestic, economic, physical, and psychological violence, harmful practices and harassment, especially online harassment. Where the forms and indicators of gender inequality have increased and girls and young women face greater challenges in accessing protection and reproductive health services, and they have become more vulnerable to various forms of gender-based violence.
At the global level, among the secondary effects of the pandemic is the increased risk of women and children being exposed to violence and abuse, especially in the households, as a result of the pressures that resulted from this and led to increased forms of gender inequality. Those who are exposed to or at risk of violence will face challenges in accessing the required protection services as a result of social isolation measures, or as a result of the transfer of funds and resources for reproductive health services and psychological support to another domain.
Therefore, the conference sought to shed light on this and highlight the social and economic cost of violence against women and girls, as well as a review of the various programs and mechanisms that exist and are developed to deal with this issue, reporting mechanisms and providing support to those who are exposed to such practices.
The conference also shed light on the programs and projects presented by the council in this regard to raise awareness about them and how to benefit from them.
A session will also be devoted to the programs and projects of the League of Arab States dedicated to supporting women and girls in light of the crises, including the outbreak of coronavirus, as well as allowing civil society organizations and a number of women and young women to share their experiences and knowledge in addressing violence against women and girls in light of the current crisis of coronavirus.
At the end of the conference, a number of recommendations were made to establish cooperation between all concerned parties to ensure the protection of women, girls and young women from violence in light of crises.
These recommendations include, strengthening mechanisms to activate laws and legislations aimed at protecting women, young women and girls, especially in light of disasters and crises
In addition to strengthening the means of cooperation and coordination between the government and civil society organizations to ensure that women, young women and girls have access to psychosocial and legal support services and reproductive health services especially in light of disasters and crises.
Moreover, increasing investment in raising the awareness of women, young women and girls about the forms of gender-based violence and how to prevent and report it.
As well as strengthening services to respond to the increase in cases of violence against women and girls, putting women’s organizations at the center of the response, and monitoring new forms of violence against women and girls.