Since the 2019 examination of the UK the global Covid-19 pandemic has upended women’s lives. Austerity measures had already decimated the public services women rely on; cuts to social security have increased poverty and homelessness, while insecurity has exacerbated mental health issues and further undermined women’s access to secure employment while increasing unpaid care. This has entrenched inequalities that systematically breach women’s rights and left public services unprepared for the response required to prevent catastrophic impacts of the pandemic.
Women’s precarity and exclusion has been dramatically exacerbated amid the ongoing uncertainty of the UK’s exit from the European Union (‘Brexit’) and future global relationships. Women’s equality has not been prioritised within management of these events, which have consumed political action and discourse.

This submission follows a four-nations shadow report produced for the UK examination in February 2019,1 and draws on evidence submitted by civil society organisations to Engender, NIWEP, WEN Wales, NAWO, and Women’s Resource Centre in England. This interim shadow report focuses on the areas of concern indicated by the Committee (at paragraphs 13, 21 and 25).