COVID-19 MED BRIEF no.15: Reducing Gender Inequality and Unemployment among Women in the Mediterranean

The coronavirus has proved to be a serious threat not only to people’s health but also to economies and societies of all countries, regardless of their level of development. This crisis presents a real test to the resilience of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, as it came at a time when they were challenged to keep their economies growing, facing increasing unemployment and scarce resources. The way out of the crisis will greatly depend on how countries in the region prioritise their actions, and on how they integrate and cooperate with each other in key sectors. Following the success of the first round of COVID-19 MED BRIEFS launched by the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and FEMISE, the two institutions decided to join forces again and launch a second round. This series of Policy Briefs is intended to pave the way for more in-depth thematic analyses and recommendations.

The fifteenth COVID-19 MED BRIEF, entitled “Reducing Gender Inequality and Unemployment among Women in the Mediterranean: Post-Covid Responses and Areas for More Regional Cooperation” by Dilek Gürsel is available here

Summary :  This brief examines how the COVID-19 crisis has further aggravated gender inequality in the Southern Mediterranean region. Zooming in on socio-economic and social consequences, it highlights some gender-sensitive measures taken throughout the region to mitigate the impact for women.

It argues that gender equality needs to be a priority and an integral part of national agendas. Creating a flexible national framework that understands the needs of women, which are diverse across sectors and contexts, and that adapts to them is key. A more inclusive public health response is needed, which takes into consideration the higher burden borne by women in the healthcare sector as well as with regards to their unpaid care responsibilities. Improving the collection and provision of sex-aggregated data is also a crucial requirement for gender-sensitive policy making.

The brief also proposes cooperation schemes and regional adaptation of best practices to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a watershed moment for gender equality in the Mediterranean. Areas where cooperation can prove efficient include initiatives for changing mentalities, a regional mechanism to assist those in the informal sector, capacity building and the digital sector.


This Policy Brief is produced as part of the series of Policy Briefs on « Responding to the Challenges of COVID-19 in the Mediterranean » that is undertaken in partnership between FEMISE and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI).


The views expressed in this Brief are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of CMI or FEMISE. The contents have not been subjected to verification by CMI or FEMISE and their publication does not reflect ownership by CMI or FEMISE.