Gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health affect all areas of development, from human wellbeing to economic growth. Living a life free from violence and with autonomy over one’s own body and sexuality are fundamental human rights. In this chapter we shine a light on how the COVID-19 pandemic has further challenged these rights by exacerbating already long-standing inequalities related to gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health. During crises, violence against women and girls regularly increases, while funding for sexual and reproductive health programmes is reduced. But the challenges presented by COVID-19, in particular ‘stay at home’ and social distancing measures, have increased the challenges faced by women and girls even more than we would perhaps normally expect to see in crisis situations. We empirically draw from primary and secondary data from both regions to make our argument.
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