South Sudan is a country with already pre-existing inequalities, gender norms and perceptions of who a man and woman is. The experiences of women and girls in South Sudan are starkly different to that of men and boys and the civil war, poverty and societal norms in the country has put women and girls at a disadvantage to seek out a livelihood, good healthcare, education etc. than their male counterparts.
The COVID-19 outbreak in South Sudan has struck an already vulnerable country with pre-existing differences and has further exacerbated these differences between women, men, girls and boys. For example, women and girls who make up the majority of frontline health workers, carers at home, community volunteers and mobilisers stand to be overwhelmed with more health and domestic responsibilities with the advent of COVID-19.
The restrictions on movement places a higher risk on women to experience Gender Based Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, because women are confined in their homes or camps with abusers. Therefore it is imperative that the national response plan on COVID-19 is grounded in a strong knowledge of gender dynamics, gender relations, sex and age disaggregated data that takes into account the differing experiences of all vulnerable groups (IDP’s women and children, disabled women, women and children in refugee camps), the gendered roles, needs, responsibilities and dynamics.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Community Empowerment for Progress (CEPO) and Rural Women for Development South Sudan (RWDSS) conducted a rapid gender analysis to find out how COVID-19 affects Women, Men, Girls and Boys and to identify their different needs which seek out a more informed gender response.
The rapid gender analysis found out that there were challenges based on gender differences in how W, M, G and B’s experienced the restrictions imposed by the Government of South Sudan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in how they accessed information, in how labor was divided in households, in how they received support to address GBV, in how they accessed an already strained healthcare system, in how they accessed WASH facilities and in how they were affected by a decrease in livelihood activities etc.
The rapid gender analysis has also incorporated pre-existing data from secondary sources to inform the change that COVID-19 has brought onto communities in South Sudan.