Critical Reflections
Nader Elgadi


How COVID-19 has changed the lives of women and girls

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Critical Reflections: How COVID-19 has changed the lives of women and girls

The onset of COVID-19 at the start of 2020 quickly demonstrated the devastating economic and social impact of a global pandemic. As the virus spread, it became clear that women and girls around the world, especially from developing countries and the Global South, were disproportionately affected as pre-existing inequalities and social norms were exacerbated. Women were also positioned on the front line, constituting 70% of the health and social sector global workforce at the time of the outbreak.

Through The Circle’s ongoing initiatives, such as providing living wage support to garment workers in Bangladesh or working alongside charities such as the Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis, we heard stories from women who had unfairly lost their jobs, suffered severe mental distress, and been victims of increased domestic violence figures. As an organisation supporting the world’s most vulnerable women and girls, our dedicated COVID-19 appeal (The Women and Girls Solidarity Fund’) has so far raised urgent funds for our important partner projects, and donations continue to roll in on a daily basis.

We are pleased to announce a dedicated online panel discussion to critically reflect on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, on women around the world. At this juncture in the pandemic, how can we learn from the initial lessons of COVID-19 to ensure our policies for global recovery are gender-mainstreamed? Why should we work together in our unique communities and societies to ensure we share the voice and burden of all women globally in health crises?

We are honoured to be able to hear and discuss the personal experiences of our incredible speakers who witnessed the calamitous effects on women in their communities first hand:

Olaitan Lola Ajisafe, PharmD, MD, is the current Academic Chief of Emergency Medicine residents at the Brooklyn Hospital Center.

Sonya Barlow is an award-winning diversity business coach and motivational speaker delivering key notes to empower those around her with a focus on empowering young professionals in tech.

Emily Wilson has been the CEO of Irise for the last 6 years, growing it from a grassroots group with a £10,000 grant into an international NGO with 16 staff across two continents, working in partnership with governments and universities to realise period equality for everyone.

Dr Isabelle Kerr is Centre Manager of the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis Centre which is Scotland’s first Rape Crisis Centre, opened in 1976, and remains the longest operational in the UK, helping girls and women who have experienced rape, sexual assault and/or violence by providing free and confidential support. Isabelle brings over 35 years experience across the Third Sector including homelessness, youth and equalities work among others.

The event will be moderated by Catherine Hester. Catherine has worked with many large and small NGOs, helping to shape their strategic and operational plans, including WRA, Save the Children and War Child, and has facilitated a wide range of workshops and staff retreats over the past 25 years.