Women of all backgrounds have been bearing the brunt of COVID-19’s devastating impact. In fact, 70% of all health care workers and first responders worldwide are women.

And it’s not just female health workers either. In Pune, India, for example, where 75% of waste pickers are women, their job became more challenging — and more critical — during the pandemic. After the outbreak, in addition to picking up and sorting the community’s trash, they began helping distribute essential supplies, such as food and medicine.

Despite their representation on the front lines of health care, women aren’t reflected at the top of global health leadership, where a whopping 73% of executives are men. Right now women are also largely underrepresented in COVID-19 government task forces around the world, with men outnumbering women 3-to-1. UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has called it “the most discriminatory crisis we have ever experienced.”

Read the full article about COVID's impact on women by Sarah Alaoui at United Nations Foundation.