With our Caribbean neighbour experiencing a natural disaster, the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) Antigua and Barbuda National Chapter applauds the efforts of all entities offering relief. We join the rest of the region in continuing to send our prayers and support for the people of St Vincent and The Grenadines during these testing times.
In these circumstances we therefore view with deep concern alleged remarks which objectify and diminish women and girls.
Violence against women and girls in the region, already at epidemic proportions, is no laughing matter. With the COVID-19 pandemic compounding inequalities and heightening the vulnerability of women, there is a pressing need to ensure that both by our words and actions all efforts are made to promote the rights of women and girls and protect them from abuse.
Evidence shows that emergencies and disasters exacerbate a community’s vulnerabilities — and that’s especially hard when a community is already fragile. Women and girls are often doubly and triply marginalized in these situations because in times of crisis harmful social norms intensify and women and children bear the brunt of worsening inequality. Pre-existing, structural gender inequalities including harsh socio-economic realities mean that disasters disproportionately affect women and girls and negatively impacts their preparedness, evacuation, response, and recovery.
This reality is particularly serious within our region where abuses against women and girls go unpunished and unreported. Protecting our women and girls goes beyond physical support. We call on our leaders and decision makers to fulfil their human rights obligations and protect our women and girls, as an urgent priority.
CIWiL stands firm in our support of actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. We are committed to working with CSOs, youth, governments, decision and policy makers to raise awareness about the harmful effects of gender discrimination including sexual abuse and exploitation.
 WHY DOES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS INCREASE DURING DISASTERS? June 24, 2020 By Katie Taylor. https://www.worldvisionadvocacy.org/2020/06/24/why-does-disaster-increase-the-risk-of-violence-against-women-and-girls/