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EMpower lays out gender-responsive roadmap for COVID-19 at AVPN Webinar

Posted 10 July 2020 in EMpower News   |   Share

On May 29, Nisha Dhawan, Country Director for EMpower in India, spoke at AVPN’s webinar, ‘A gender lens response to COVID-19 funding and philanthropy’ along with Bonnie Chiu rom The Social Investment Consultancy. The speakers shared their insights from working with grantees as a foundation, building gender lens investing strategies, and leading community-centered programs to amplify the voices of women and girls.

Similar to pandemics that the world has witnessed and experienced in the past, COVID-19 has shown its potential in deepening and aggravating gender disparities around the world, especially those that are being experienced by marginalized populations. In such times, it comes critical to initiate and participate in multiple conversations that can strengthen knowledge and spur action in the right directions.

The impact of COVID-19 on girls and women

Talking about the unique challenges that girls and women are confronted with at the moment, Nisha highlighted that what they are facing is not the impact of COVID-19 as much as the exacerbation of inequalities and issues that already existed. Citing examples for this across each of EMpower’s three focus areas - Education, Health & Wellbeing, and Livelihoods - she reiterated the consequent threat to progress made in relation to gender equality.

React and Respond

Nisha spoke about the role of EMpower as a flexible funder in light of COVID-19 with gender-justice at the center of its response. She also shared the ways in which our grantee partners have shown agility in their responses to the pandemic, reacting swiftly to limit the impact of COVID-19 in the communities where they work.

Repair - The Long Road Ahead

Right off the bat, Nisha acknowledged that ‘back to normal’ is going to be a distant reality, given the continuous and long-term effects of COVID-19. Speaking of practices, she emphasized the need to listen to girls in a meaningful manner, enact trust, and consider the impact of COVID-19 beyond the medical and economic. With regards to programming, she stressed that compassion and strategy have to go hand-in-hand.

You can watch the entire webinar recording here.

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