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Summary
The Women RISE initiative supports action-oriented and gender-transformative research on how women's health and their work (paid or unpaid) intersect and interact in the context of preparedness, response and recovery from COVID-19.

Women RISE seeks to support action-oriented, gender-transformative research on how women’s health and their work (paid or unpaid) intersect and interact in the context of preparing for, responding to and recovering from COVID-19.
 

An important initiative

The following facts illustrate why the Women RISE initiative is so important now: 

  • Globally, most women are employed in the informal sector with little or no access to social protection — in low-income countries, 92% of women are informally employed.  

  • Women make up 70% of the health workforce worldwide and are therefore at the forefront of the COVID-19 response; in 11 countries where sex-disaggregated data is available, women account for 71% of confirmed COVID-19 cases among healthcare workers.  

  • Women-owned enterprises are overrepresented in sectors like tourism, hospitality and retail that have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic and its response. This not only impacts economic well-being but also places women on the front lines — elevating the risk of exposure, increasing risks of mental health issues and elevating the exposure to violence at work.   

  • Emerging evidence from UN Women’s rapid assessment surveys suggests that, with families confined to their homes, men are doing more, but women continue to do the lion’s share of unpaid care and domestic work.
     

Innovative solutions to tackle difficult challenges

COVID-19 and efforts to contain the disease have shaken local and global labour markets, threatened livelihoods and made precarious work relationships even more precarious. 

Women around the world have borne the brunt of layoffs and loss of livelihoods, sacrificed their health at the frontlines of the pandemic response and disproportionately shouldered the burden of additional caregiving associated with COVID-19. An equitable recovery from COVID-19 will require solutions that consider and address the gendered impacts of the pandemic on women’s health and well-being. 

Contributing to global efforts to ensure an evidence-informed and equitable recovery from COVID-19, Women RISE is aligned with priority 3.5 of the United Nations Research Roadmap for COVID-19 Recovery — How have recent economic changes disproportionately impacted women and how can recovery strategies be inclusive and gender-transformative?  

While the pandemic has deepened pre-existing inequalities and risks rolling back global gains in gender equality, research, like that supported by Women RISE, will enable us to better understand the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women. Research evidence generated by this initiative will inform immediate and medium-term solutions for a post-COVID-19 recovery that will improve gender equality and health equity.
 

Mobilizing immediate and medium-term solutions for COVID-19 recovery

To achieve the objectives of Women RISE, the initiative is funding 23 research teams made up of a low- and middle-income country principal investigator, a Canada-based co-principal investigator and at least one decision-maker(s) co-principal investigator. A health policy and research organization, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), facilitates knowledge mobilization, capacity building and networking among the 23 Women RISE research teams and ensures that evidence is integrated into gender-transformative policies, programs and practices. 

Women RISE identifier


Objectives

Women RISE actively: 

  • supports action-oriented, gender-transformative research on how women’s health and their work (paid or unpaid) intersect and interact in the context of preparing, responding to and recovering from COVID-19. 
  • encourages population and public health research aligned with research priority 3.5 identified in the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery: “How have recent economic changes disproportionately impacted women and how can recovery strategies be inclusive and gender-transformative?”  
  • contributes to filling the knowledge gap about macro- and micro-level factors affecting the relationship between women’s work and women’s health before, during and after COVID-19.  
  • informs solutions to improve the health and well-being of women while strengthening capacity for equitable recovery and contributing to gender-transformative policies and interventions that advance preparedness for future health emergencies. 
  • generates evidence that will inform immediate and medium-term solutions for post-COVID-19 recovery that improve gender equality and health equity. 

Learn more: 

Explore research projects that we support.

Partners

Canadian institutes of health research
Social sciences and humanities research council of canada