West African women facing COVID

7 Facts and Solutions

West African women facing the Covid
Paper author: 
Aurore Mathieu
Paper publication date: 
Thursday 30 July 2020

While the number of cases of the COVID-19 global pandemic is still on the rise in West Africa, the impacts of the crisis are already felt by West Africa’s populations. Just like the rest of the world, the population in West Africa is experiencing a COVID-induced economic crisis, which will exacerbate already existing inequalities and deepen the poverty situation in the region. Seven West African organizations, WILDAF, ROPPA, RBM, WANEP, REPSFECO, APESS and ROALJEF-Mali, supported by Oxfam and CARE, have decided to highlight the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women across sectors in West Africa: farmers, traders, women in pastoralist communities, in cooperatives, women living in urban and rural areas. Because women often have low-salary and precarious jobs, usually in the informal sector, and because they are the primary caregivers of their communities, they find themselves at the front line of the crisis, which reinforces preexisting gender inequalities and threatens, in some aspects, achievements made over the last decades for gender equality. West African civil society organizations wanted to highlight the following seven areas impacting specifically women which were worsened by (or sometimes resulted of) the COVID-19 crisis.

Discover 7 facts and possible solutions

FACT N°1 – Women face disruption to their economic activities (READ MORE)

FACT N°2 – Women and girls face limited access to social services (READ MORE)

FACT N°3 – Women and girls face an increase in their vulnerability and gender-based violence (READ MORE)

FACT N°4 – Women and girls face the food crisis (READ MORE)

FACT N°5 – Women face limited representation and participation in decision-making spaces (READ MORE)

FACT N°6 – Women and girls face a lack of access to information (READ MORE)

FACT N°7 – Women and girls face the burden of social norms (READ MORE)


This discussion paper has been written based on consultation with the West African civil society organizations, as well as with Oxfam and CARE, held amongst their members and offices in Senegal, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone in July. This study is based on qualitative data and not quantitative method: the data is  collected from the members of the signatory organizations and reflect their opinions and observations about the challenges women are facing during the COVID-19 crisis.