The heads of national statistical offices participating in the Conference of European Statisticians have (CES) welcomed UNECE’s new Guidance for measuring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and men.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt many aspects of daily life. The disproportionate impacts on women observed soon after the onset of the pandemic have endured, giving way to lasting effects on women’s health, safety, employment, and workloads at home. Temporary changes in access to health services have had repercussions for reproductive and mental health. Many women have been forced to exit the labour force amidst persisting interruptions to childcare and schooling. The full extent of the social and economic costs of increased violence against women during periods of confinement are yet to be seen.
Policy responses are required to ensure that progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is not reversed. Such policies require solid gender data—statistics that are both sex-disaggregated and collected on topics pertinent to gender equality and issues affecting women and girls.
The Guidance serves to aid national statistical offices (NSOs) in producing gender statistics related to the impact of the pandemic. It covers four topics:
- Work: paid work, unpaid work and volunteering
- Health: general health, mental health, and sexual and reproductive health
- Violence against women: prevalence and access to support services
- The digital gender divide: access to ICT, access to health and Covid-19 information, digital skills and ICT for work, digital skills and ICT for study and training, digital skills and ICT for communication and social networking, and e-commerce.
Each of these topics is covered in depth with a discussion of their policy relevance; proposed indicators and suggested levels of disaggregation; proposed survey questions with recommended parent surveys (such as general household surveys, labour force surveys and health surveys), data collection frequency, and target population; and methodological notes and caveats to aid NSOs in producing valid, reliable and internationally comparable statistics.
At its 70th plenary session the CES, comprising chief statisticians from across and beyond the region, emphasized the relevance of the Guidance, noting that it will help NSOs to meet increasing demand among policymakers for statistics on the gendered impact of the pandemic. Countries were invited to use the indicators and survey questions proposed in the Guidance.
The Guidance was prepared by a team of experts under the Steering Group on Gender Statistics which included representatives from Canada, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, the European Institute for Gender Equality, the International Labour Organization and UN Women. It is available in English and Russian.