Calls for a gender lens across COVID-19 response and recovery grow louder

Newsletter, August 2020

Dear Friends,

As I write from my home office in Melbourne today the skies are blue and the sun is shining. We’re half-way through Stage 4 lockdown and today’s virus cases while still of great concern are the lowest in Victoria for over a month.

Finding the joy in challenging times has become a national sport during the pandemic and it’s one I’m happy to train for daily! Despite the incomparable times we are living in, there are so many uplifting stories of kindness, generosity, community connection and care.

If there is a silver lining for our Network it is that after a decade of advocating for an intentional, strategic focus on women and girls in philanthropic funding, COVID-19 is starkly highlighting the critical importance of this gender lens approach and the dangers of failing to be clear-sighted!

The evidence is clear. We have seen highly gendered impacts in job losses for women, increased risk through exposure to the virus in our highly feminised healthcare workforce, and the disproportionate burden on women at home, supporting children in remote learning. Indeed it has the current healthcare crisis has been described as a gender disaster particularly in the absence of job stimulus initiatives targeted at women.

We know that disasters exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. Of great concern is the impact of the pandemic on the already shameful rates of domestic and family violence. Yesterday, on the six month anniversary of the shocking murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, Our Watch Chair, Natasha Stott Despoja delivered a powerful address to the National Press Club. I urge you to take the time to view or listen via the link below.

To Natasha, and each and everyone in our broad community of supporters who are working in their own way to improve the lives of women and girls – and through this the strength of our society – thank you so much. This challenging and difficult work is crucial to ensuring we achieve greater gender equality and recover and strengthen our social and economic wellbeing.

Please continue to stay well, safe and strong. May we continue to be kind to one another and to ourselves, and of course, to mask up and keep washing our hands!


Julie Reilly
Australian Women Donors Network

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