The UNs Global Gender Response Tracker – Prioritising Gender Equality in policy

Zoe Dean

The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected many aspects of society, yet it is the existing disparities which have been exacerbated the most. Women are facing unfairly distributed challenges as a result of already existing inequalities within cultures and societies. An underpinning aspect of these inequalities is the lack of gender-specific policies being implemented worldwide. 

In conjunction with the growing voices demanding that more needs to be done for women within the realms of policy, the UN has launched a powerful new tool. The Covid-19 Global Gender Response Tracker aims to ‘monitors policy measures enacted by governments worldwide to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and highlight responses that have integrated a gender lens.’ (UNDP 2020)

Under the coordination of UNDP and UN Women, it obtains its information from a variety of publicly accessible sources including media and policy documents. Its aims are to monitor progress towards implementing policies tackling gender disparities in education and social protection. It does not and cannot assess the impact of these policies within individual countries but successfully offers guidance as to the general trends existing in our globalised world.

A summary of the current Global trends concerning Gender focused policies. (as of 02/10/20) (ref)

  • Out of 2, 517 measures implemented in response to Covid-19, 992 measures have been classed as gender-sensitive.
  • Focus varies widely according to culture and government capacity. For example, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand have the highest percentage of policies addressing violence against women. South America and the Caribbean have the largest amount of policies addressing economic security for women.
  • Policies addressing violence against women have the highest priority with 71% of all gender-sensitive measures focused on tackling the issue.
  • Economic security is low on the overall policy agenda with only 10% of all economic security policies focus on women economic security.
  • Only 58 countries (out of 206) have social measures in place that target women.

The database helps form a picture of the current response to gender issues exacerbated by the pandemic. Consequently, it is also a useful tool to summarise what more needs to be done within the gender-sensitive policy.

With domestic violence reported to have increased by 25% over the course of the pandemic, policies addressing this issue have been heavily present in some countries. Yet it is clear that facilitating policies to address this issue is needed in all countries.

There has been an inadequate response to protecting women’s presence in the workplace. Before the pandemic women were doing 3 times as much of the unpaid care and domestic work as compared to men. Additional responsibilities, such as caring or subsistence activities, are now being unevenly distributed more towards women than men further decreasing their ability to access the labour market. More needs to be done to address this imbalance.

The database will hopefully ensure that countries continue to implement policies that improve women’s lives. With the knowledge that women can contribute substantially to the economy and with a global recession seeming inevitable, it would be foolish to ignore this global move towards women’s equality.


UNWomen (2018) Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment.

UNWomen (2020) COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker Methodological note.

UNWomen (2020) Covid-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, Global Factsheet – Version 1 September 28, 2020.

UNDP (2020) COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker

Chaney, C. (30th September 2020) Devex: New tool tracks how policies are protecting women during


UNWomen (2020) How Covid-19 Impacts Women.