UNITED NATIONS, Jan 27 2021 (IPS) – With over 90 million confirmed cases and 1.9 million deaths globally, and a second wave sweeping into 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hold the world hostage.

Less visible and talked about is how its social and economic fallout is hitting women hard – and often harder than men. The latest data shows that the pandemic is poised to push 47 million women and girls into extreme poverty, increasing the total number of women and girls living in extreme poverty to 435 million.

The projections also show that this number will not revert to pre-pandemic levels until 2030. To recover from this crisis, decisive government action is imperative to safeguard the rights and needs of women and girls.

As governments around the world scramble to protect jobs, pass fiscal stimulus packages and social protection measures, how can policymakers ensure that their COVID-19 responses work for women and girls, whose needs, priorities and voices are chronically absent from the data and analysis that shapes policies?