The coronavirus pandemic and the decision makers

The Swedish Gender Equality Agency presents its comments on what the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken mean for gender equality, based on the knowledge we have at this time. Here you can read about the power over decisions.

The pandemic has prompted extraordinary decisions within politics, the public sector and the business community. New laws, refocusing of resources, furloughing and other measures are having far-reaching consequences for the entire population.

There are also indications that women’s needs are not catered for to the same extent when women have less of a say in decision-making.

Most of those involved in shaping and taking these decisions are men. Around a quarter of the world’s members of parliament and less than 10% of the world’s heads of state and government are women (Source: UN Women). 29% of the senior roles in the world’s companies are held by women.

Science journal The Lancet reports on the benefits of incorporating women into global health security surveillance, detection and prevention mechanisms. The journal’s article states that, since women are overrepresented in care roles, incorporating women’s voices and knowledge could be empowering and improve outbreak preparedness and response.

– There are also indications that women’s needs are not catered for to the same extent when women have less of a say in decision-making. During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014–2016, researchers found that women had less power over decision-making and that their needs went largely unmet, says Jakob Lindahl, senior analyst at the Swedish Gender Equality Agency.

Last updated: 9:13 - 13 May, 2020
  • Gender equality
  • Power and influence