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Queen Mary Global Policy Institute

Beyond sex and gender analysis: an intersectional view of the coronavirus pandemic

In this COVID-19 pandemic, emerging popular refrains like 'we’re all in this together' and 'we will come through this together' echo across media. But who is this 'we'? While it’s true that the entire globe is being affected, health risks, burdens, experiences and outcomes aren’t the same for everyone. The outbreak has prompted calls to better understand its differential impacts.

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A graphic depicting a group of diverse people wearing face masks.

UN General Secretary António Gutteres has appealed for consideration of women’s needs in combatting COVID-19. Others have criticized the gender-neutral approach to pandemics in general, including the lack of gender expertise in pandemic planning, outbreak response and post-pandemic recovery. Still others note that gender analysis should be a 'reflex' embedded in all global health emergency responses. There are also competing calls to attend to migrants' needs and those of disabled people. Policy makers face dilemmas, then, regarding whose needs should be prioritised in the pandemic response.

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Beyond sex and gender analysis: an intersectional view of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and response [PDF 613KB]