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The Judiciary and Gender Implications of COVID-19

*Fiona Atupele Mwale, LLM

Judge, High Court of Malawi

 

“Gender inequalities exacerbate outbreaks, and responses that do not incorporate gender analysis exacerbate inequalities.” (Smith 2019).



Although Malawi has not imposed a mandatory lockdown as of this writing, a number of institutions—government and non-governmental, have imposed a system in which staff members are rotating with many operating from home a number of days a week, an attempt to “slow down” the spread of infections as it were. From evidence across the globe in countries which have imposed lock down measures, domestic violence which for the most part is perpetrated against women by men, has risen exponentially. Women are now trapped at home with their abusers. Although I have not experienced in the courtroom any such cases, my experience on the UN Women Ending Violence Against Women Advisory Group for Eastern and Southern Africa (which engages stakeholders for strategy intervention on the region) has sho