Indian women wait in line for food in New Delhi.
SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images
The World Bank has warned that while the pandemic is recovering, critical measures must be taken to get women back into work and on the path to gender equality.
The pandemic has exacerbated existing gender gaps, and more efforts are needed now than ever to advance women, World Bank group global director Caren Grown told CNBC on Friday.
“While everyone was exposed to the same storm, they really affected men and women differently,” Grown told Squawk Box Asia.
For example, although the death rate from Covid-19 was generally higher in men, women are more socially and economically affected, she said.
This is partly due to the disproportionate representation of women in heavily affected industries such as hospitality and tourism, but also to the additional care obligations that they normally face.
Even before the pandemic, the World Bank estimated that it could take 150 years for women to achieve gender equality with men. The health crisis has likely lengthened that schedule.
To overcome these differences, ensuring equitable access to vaccines is critical, Grown said. This includes making sure women have the time and resources to schedule their appointments.
In addition, further financial and nursing support is required to get the most affected women back on their feet and back to work.
Eventually, more safeguards against gender-based abuse need to be put in place, she said.
“What has been exposed during this pandemic is the increase in gender-based violence,” Grown said. “It has always been called the shadow pandemic, but when we think about a recovery we actually need to take stronger responses and preventative measures.”