A feminist cover by Lina AbiRafeh



The pandemic has disproportionately affected women and girls, and recovery must take into account their vulnerability to crises. In fact, the only way to “build back better” from the pandemic is to have a feminist political response.

BEIRUT – Last year, when the COVID-19 crisis erupted, I pleaded for a feminist response. Policies aimed at mitigating the immediate effects of the pandemic and ensuring that our societies emerge stronger and more resilient must have women’s security and rights at the center. A year later, such a response – which is urgent in the Arab region – is nowhere to be found.

Violent conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics disproportionately affect women and girls, as systemic barriers make them much more vulnerable than men and boys to such crises.

One of these barriers prevents them from accessing information. In the Arab region, almost half of women and girls do not have access to the Internet or a mobile phone, compared to 34% for men and boys. In addition, 33% of women are illiterate, compared to 19% of men. These gaps mean that women are much less likely to understand the risks they face or how to mitigate them.

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