Briefing paper

Action on Covid-19 and gender: A policy review from Sierra Leone

Author: Sripriya Iyengar Srivatsa
Published by: ALIGN
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This briefing note examines the impact of Covid-19 – and policy responses to the pandemic – on gender norms in Sierra Leone, a country that has already endured a severe disease outbreak. From 2014-2016, Sierra Leone lost 3,955 people to the Ebola virus, which also crippled an economy that was just starting to pick up, a decade after the end of the country’s civil war. 

Sierra Leone, a low-income country in the West Africa region, is ranked at 150 out of 160 countries on the UNDP Gender Inequality Index (Human Development Reports). While countries in the region are diverse, they share some common characteristics in their cultures and policy framework, particularly on the issues of women and their well-being. As the pandemic exacerbates socioeconomic issues that already existed, this note will centre on the gendered implications of the pandemic in Sierra Leone for women’s health and for their finances.