Include Women of Liberia in COVID-19 Decision-Making Responses

By Ade Wede Kekuleh*

Credit: UN Women/Winston Daryoue

As COVID-19 rages through the world, its effects are felt globally. Irrespective of race, color or creed, the COVID-19 pandemic is killing people everywhere. As is usually the case, women and children bear the brunt of any pandemic.

In my part of the world— the African continent, the number of infections and death toll remains comparatively lower than other parts in Europe and the United States. In Liberia, the government has initiated some measures intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, in a society where women, many of whom have to singlehandedly fend for children without many employment opportunities, it is even more difficult.

In the words of United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, “the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges this world has faced in our lifetime. It is above all a human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences” (Guterres, A. “Now is ‘not the time’ to reduce funding for the World Health Organization in COVID-19 fight”, 14 April 2020, UN News).

Intersectional approaches to battling COVID-19 must take into account the peculiar challenges women face, which make them more vulnerable to contracting the virus. The social expectations of women being caregivers creates the onus of looking after children who are ultimately out of school because of COVID-19. Many women live from hand to mouth daily, meaning they must go to the market or wherever they can find some means of survival or livelihood to be able to feed their children. With the government of Liberia’s compu