IMKAAN'S Postion Paper outlines the impact of the Two Pandemics - VAWG and Covid-19 on BAME Women



Publication date: 

11th May 2020

On 11th May, Imkaan published a position paper titled 'The Impact of the Two Pandemics: VAWG and COVID-19 on Black and Minoritised Women and Girls'.

You can download the full paper here; an extract is published below:

We recognise that we are dealing with two pandemics – violence against women and girls declared by the World Health Organisation in 2013 and Coronavirus COVID-19. During the two pandemics, violence against women and girls is increased but for Black and minoritised women and girls, racialised discrimination and the disproportionate impact of structural inequalities also become exacerbated. No one is immune to coronavirus COVID-19, but structural inequality reproduces disproportionately across diverse communities and exacerbates existing racialised inequalities. For any woman and girl with protected characteristics, the two pandemics increase her risks at multiple interlocking levels.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact around the world disrupting social systems, dismantling economic structures and creating political crisis as governments struggle to respond. There has been much engagement in emergency planning and health system coordination as we remain locked down. Like the rest of the sector, Imkaan has participated in sector-wide meetings with government at all levels engaged in discussions about a wide range of social programmes, the welfare systems, criminal and justice systems, housing and other measures, providing advice, guidance and expert feedback on a range of initiatives. We have lobbied to ensure sustainable ring-fenced funding to the specialist high demand sector that is meeting the cumulative effect of need now.

We are clear that the experiences of Black and minoritised women and girls are seldom present in the wider response to COVID-19. The need for a counter-narrative centred on Black and minoritised women is the purpose of this work. We reject the need for simplicity in response to a single pandemic as we often hear from public officials and charity heads across sectors because the simple response does not address the existence of the two pandemics and pushes equalities to the side-line, as an add-on to response frameworks in a post COVID-19 period. We are aware that the restrictive measures under the Coronavirus COVID-19 2020 Act already threaten rights-based protections and reduce the equalities’ narrative that are necessary to shape public policy and practice moving forward.

In all work that we do, in the immediate and long-term, we must maintain that both pandemics cause human suffering and trauma and that the VAWG pandemic is gendered and intersectional. This will enable us to reimagine a different world that will not be business as usual but rather, seek social justice instead.

This is the first of a series of position papers that will be published by Imkaan fixating a lens on issues from the margin that we wish to move to the centre. The data has been generated by two Imkaan surveys and interviews, desktop research, Imkaan’s strategic work and ongoing dialogue 1 with the core-COVID-19 response group made up of CEO’s from Imkaan’s membership.

Report Authors

Baljit Banga | Executive Director |

Sumanta Roy | Head of Research, Evaluation and Development |