According to the country’s 2015 Population and Housing Census Thematic Report on Economic Characteristics, women account for about 57% of the informal sector’s workforce. Economically therefore, women who form the bulk of petty traders, suffer economic loss due to limited trading hours and increase cost of transporting goods-associated with the inter-district lockdown in the country. The halt to cross border activities and the accompanying forced compliance measures have far reaching implications for women. With limited access to basic services and in desperation to perform their reproductive roles of nurturing, women are found in conflict with the law with dire consequences. The current COVID-19 preventive measures taken seem to threaten women’s peace and security. This prevailing economic challenge and lockdown measures could also increase potential for domestic violence within families while making women and girls vulnerable to sex perpetrators.
Thanks to the female honorable MPs who have recognized the current need to translates down to the country context, an engendered response to women vulnerability during a pandemic in line with international commitments.
Interestingly, Paramount Chief Member of Parliament who are the custodians of the country’s cultures and traditions are not left behind either, as part of the Female Parliamentary Caucus, they are highly revered with much need reverence just as well as in their various districts.
Already, women in the various constituents have embraced the unwavering leadership of the Caucus with positive sentiments and feedbacks being garnered during phone in sessions-an airtime slot allocated during the MPs radio and TV discussion programs to solicit real time concerns from the general population for further engagements. The media campaigns at district level are followed by direct engagement with community structures, women’s groups and the large constituents as well as people’s elected representatives so that collectively, they can map out ways to implement preventative measures from a gender perspective more so when they relate to women’s peace and security. This initiative is made possible with funding from the Norwegian Government.