OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

03/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/08/2021 06:42

How pandemic affects welfare of women, focus of OSCE-supported publication presented in Skopje today

SKOPJE, 8 March 2021 - Today, on the occasion of International Women's day, the OSCE Mission to Skopje and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia published a Mission-supported analysis on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender and diversity. The analysis shows that the pandemic, and the response to it, has had a disproportionally negative effect on women in all sectors and age groups.

According to the study, mothers are almost 70 percent more likely than fathers to have taken the role of the main caregiver, following the closure of schools and kindergartens.

'If not properly addressed by targeted government policies, the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic may also increase inequality, exclusion, and discrimination. Women in general, and vulnerable groups such as Roma, single mothers, persons with disabilities, and rural women in particularly are the most affected,' said Clemens Koja, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje during the online event.

Minister of Labour and Social Policy Jagoda Shahpaska said: 'The pandemic was not an obstacle; on the contrary, it was a challenge to adopt two key laws that largely affect women, namely the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination and the Law on Prevention and Protection from Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. This is proof that women are most powerful when they are united. There is still a lot of work to be done in the field of eliminating discrimination in the labour market and ensuring gender-responsive budgeting, but above all the challenge is to fight the pandemic and adapt to the new normal.'

The analysis, available at https://www.osce.org/mission-to-skopje/480401, was developed together with the Centre for Research and Policy Making and the civil society organizations Radar, Polio Plus, Rural Coalition, and the National Network to End Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.