IN THE NEWS

Discussing the Worldwide Consequences of COVID on Women

Monday, May 10th
Though the full effects of the impact of COVID-19 on our population are yet to be known, it is instructive to look at the effects on women around the world a year into the pandemic. On April 26, 2021, Rutgers Global hosted a panel discussion titled “COVID-19: Worldwide Consequences on Women” to explore this important topic, especially with regard to the areas of sexual and reproductive rights, labor, and violence against women and girls during the pandemic. Anu Gupta, Assistant Dean for International Academic Support at Rutgers Global, who organized the panel discussion noted, “This panel discussion was illuminating and we were grateful to have such an impressive roster of panelists, but this is really only the beginning of the conversation. We hope to continue this topic in further panel discussions organized as a series on the impact of the pandemic on women worldwide.” To begin the conversation, Gupta introduced Laura Turquet, Policy Advisor and Deputy Chief of the Research and Data team at UN Women, to give an overview of the data we currently know. Turquet is also co-author and manager of UN Women’s flagship report: Progress of the World’s Women: Families in a Changing World. The first panel discussion was on the topic of sexual and reproductive health and rights and was led by Professor Yana van der Meulen Rodgers of the Department of Labor Studies & Employment Relations, and Department of Women & Gender Studies, as well as the Faculty Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. She was joined by Giselle Carino, CEO of International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region, and based in Argentina, and Beirne Roose-Snyder, Director of Public Policy at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). As the panel shared, in addition to the risk posed to women due to exposure to the virus because they make up 70% of the health workforce, they are particularly vulnerable because of the diversion of resources and services away from sexual and reproductive health. This can exacerbate maternal mortality and morbidity, increase adolescent pregnancies, and incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.   The next panel discussed the impact of the pandemic on women and labor. Professor Rodgers introduced the two panelists: Mary Njeri Kinyanjui, PhD, from the University of Nairobi-IDS and based in Kenya, and Professor Ousseina D. Alidou, PhD from the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University. As the panelists explained, the economic fallout due to COVID-19 has had a particular devastating effect on women and gender equality. The existing gender inequalities has left women more vulnerable than ever because of factors such as: women’s rising share of unpaid work (childcare, caring for the elderly, cooking, cleaning); disproportionately higher job loss rates; and lack of employment-based social protection to women in the informal economy, which makes up 70% of women’s employment.  For the final panel topic on violence against women and girls, the moderator was Rebecca Mark, Director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University and the panelists were Alexandra Robinson, Gender Based Violence Advisor at the United National Population Fund, calling in from Fiji, and Rebecca (Linchi) Hsu, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Howard University. The panelists shared that there is growing evidence that the pandemic has resulted in an increase of violence against women and girls.  This increase is in part due to confined living conditions and tensions from security, health, and money worries.  In addition, lockdowns have caused a spike in reported cases of domestic violence. Even the data that is available is most likely showing underreported numbers. To see a recording of the event, “COVID-19: Worldwide Consequences on Women,” please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6gtjBrzulY  

Rutgers University to Virtually Host 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Thursday, April 22nd
Rutgers University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning June 21, Rutgers University will virtually engage two cohorts of 50 of Africa’s bright, emerging leaders for two six-week Leadership Institutes, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the African continent. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the Fellowship. The cohort of Fellows hosted by Rutgers University will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted by 26 educational institutions across the United States. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State is planning a virtual Fellowship for 2021. While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, which will include leadership training, networking, mentoring, and professional development. After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in a virtual Summit. Up to 70 competitively-selected Fellows will also participate in six weeks of virtual professional development with U.S. non- governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies. Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, Leadership Institutes will offer programs that engage, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Some highlights of the Rutgers program will include: •    Fellows will connect with local partners through virtual site visits and collaborative projects  •    There will be an opportunity to interact with the Fellows at a virtual networking event Details will be shared with the community closer to the start of the virtual program. For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute implemented by Rutgers, please visit this webpage. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or collaborator for this year's Fellows, please contact, Greg Costalas at gcostalas@global.rutgers.edu. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit mandelawashingtonfellowship.org and join the conversation at #YALI2021.

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