While some nations have made significant progress in reducing harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), and women are more represented in government than ever, several other barriers still stop women from reaching their full potentials, according to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 released in June.

Global Goal 5 aims to achieve political, economic, and social equality for all women, but the COVID-19 pandemic is making this target increasingly difficult to reach. A new set of obstacles is disproportionately putting women at risk and further jeopardizing gender equality on a global scale.

Historically, women are especially vulnerable during crises. COVID-19 is no different and already domestic violence, child marriage, and FGM is on the rise, the report said. With schools and child care services closed, women and girls are taking on the brunt of household chores and caregiving responsibilities. Women also represent 70% of health care workers globally and are more exposed to the virus on the front lines.

Women’s rights advocates are urging the international community to act quickly to meet Global Goal 5 before it’s too late.

Prior to the pandemic, climate change, conflict, food insecurity, and exclusionary politics were already reversing advances in gender equality. Every country would have had to speed up progress to meet Global Goal 5 by the deadline, Susan Papp, policy and advocacy managing director at the organization Women Deliver, told the news agency Inter Press Service.

One study released by the organization Equal Measures 2030 in March found that more than a third of countries have been moving too slowly or in the wrong direction to address four of the five core issues targeted by the Global Goals.

Read the full article about COVID-19's obstacles for gender equality by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.