UN Warns of Negative Impacts of Lockdowns on Women’s Health
Posted by Cole Vetter
Model United Nations, NMSU
May 7, 2020
While many countries around the world promptly locked down their economies and initiated quarantine protocols, the United Nations (UN) remained outspoken about the negative effects of the lockdown. The concerns of various UN organizations and high-ranking UN officials is that the lockdowns across the world will result in dramatically higher domestic violence occurrences and significant reductions in accessible women’s health services.
The UN Secretary-General called for a “global ceasefire” of domestic violence so that citizens can unite against the pandemic. He views the threat of domestic violence (regarding specifically women) to be vastly increased during the COVID-19 Lockdowns as potential domestic abusers experience more time at home than usual. Recent United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reports provide evidence for this argument, highlighting the fact that women are not able to access appropriate heath facilities due to movement restrictions and that protection efforts by social services are likely severely hampered, with the UNFPA predicting a one-third reduction in lost progress towards domestic violence reduction objectives set by the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The UNFPA also predicts a dramatic reduction of accessible women’s health services, with travel restrictions severely limiting women’s abilities to undergo abortions and procure contraceptives, projecting that 7 million unintended pregnancies will occur within a 6-month lockdown period.
The most vulnerable populations present before the pandemic are likely to be the most disaffected populations during the pandemic and additional resources are needed to ensure the survival of crucial institutions that provide health and safety to women who need it. The UNFPA is conducting a response plan to address these concerns, centering it around communication about women’s health and continuity of specific health services, predicting a need for 187.5 Million USD for the plan. Global enforcement of this plan will be unpredictable, however, and could prove ineffective in reaching a wide population.