How do we account for the ability or otherwise of regional organisations in the global South to enable equitable and inclusive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic? We answer this question with a focus on Africa and in relation to the rights of women and girls. Drawing on theoretical insights from Feminist Global Health Security and from data on the African Union and other regional organisations in Africa and from NGOs, local activists and medical centres, we show that regional organisations acted quickly to identify the gendered socio-economic and health needs of women and girls and alerted member states to the need to consider gender rights in their policy responses. However, weak gender norms during crisis led to a disconnect between early recognition of the need for policies to protect women and girls and the failure of regional organisations to either lead that response or engineer it in member state governments.


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Barlow, M., Grugel, J., Saka, L. & Murray-Evans, P. 2023, 'Failing women and girls during COVID-19: the limits of regional gender norms in Africa', British Journal of Politics and International Relations. https://eprints.gla.ac.uk/306749/

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Last updated: 01 December 2023
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