Past Event

Women and the Return to Poverty

December 18, 2020
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Online Event

4pm Nairobi | 8am New York | 2pm Paris

According to UN Women, the pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line, 59 percent of which live in sub-Saharan Africa, reversing decades of progress to eradicate extreme poverty. While women's rights are already suppressed across the world, the pandemic has exacerbated these situations in the region during lockdowns and in an absence of adequate response. The unabated rise of gender inequalities such as burdens of running a household, spousal abandonment, loss of work and income, lack of access to healthcare in relation to reproductive health, among others have led to a ripple effect on the societies at large. In addition, with closure of schools, the reports of adolescent pregnancies, child and forced marriages in sub-Saharan countries have also sky-rocketed.

From this stems a need to host a discussion on the measures to address the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown, which has put women and girls in more vulnerable positions and let them slide into poverty further. The main objectives of the webinar are to voice the experiences of women and girls during a pandemic, as well as to discuss strategies for smart, affordable, and urgent choices that public policy practitioners can make to reverse the impact of the pandemic on women and girls.

Moderator Bio

Prof. Yasmine Ergas

Yasmine Ergas is Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Lecturer in Discipline in International and Public Affairs. She also directs the program in Gender and Human Rights of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, is a member of the Executive Committee of the University’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is the co-convener of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council at Columbia University. 

A lawyer and sociologist, she has worked on issues regarding gender and women’s rights as a policy analyst and advisor, scholar and advocate. She has served as a consultant to international and domestic policy organizations, including the OECD, UNESCO, the Millennium Villages Project, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and CENSIS, a major applied social research institute in Italy, and been on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. Her recent work has focused on the emergence of an international market in reproductive services, the transformations of ‘motherhood’ and the impacts of human rights programs and policies. Previous relevant work centered on feminist movements and their interactions with public policies; the implications of the concept of ‘gender’ for feminist politics; child care policies in international and comparative perspective; educational policies and the social implications of HIV/AIDS.  

Panelist Bio

Dr. Fidelis Allen

Dr. Fidelis Allen is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and a Fellow of the African Polling Institute in Abuja.  He served as Acting Director of the University of Port Harcourt Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies from 2015 to 2019

Dr. Allen is the Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Political and Administrative Studies, Department of Political and Administrative Studies.  He is a member of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) USA, Nigeria Political Science Association, International Political Science Association and the Editorial Advisory Board Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal, among others. 

Dr. Allen has worked as a consultant with the British Council of Nigeria, Women for Women International, Project Evaluator and  lead Researcher for several organisations on several projects including, Participation of Women in Policies and governance in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers State Nigeria for SDN.  Dr. Allen has contributed over  30 book chapters, published 24 journal articles, authored 4 books and has been the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships throughout his professional


Professor Patricia Kameri-Mbote is a Founding Research Director of (IELRC), and the Programme Director for Africa. She studied law at the University of Nairobi, the University of Warwick, the University of Zimbabwe and earned her doctorate from Stanford Law School (Stanford University). She is currently a Professor of Law at the School of Law, University of Nairobi where she has taught for over 30 years and served as Dean. She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and was conferred the rank of Senior Counsel in 2012. She has contributed to policymaking in the areas of environment, land, agriculture and gender and was awarded the national honour in the order Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) in 2015. She has also taught in many universities around the world and published widely. Her latest work Contending Norms in a Plural Legal System: The Limits of Formal Law was the basis of her Higher Doctorate award from the University of Nairobi in 2019. She was awarded an honorary degree in law by the University of Oslo (UiO) in 2017 for her work cutting across established fields of Women’s Law, Natural Resources Law, Human Rights and Law and Development and  was also among 21 women honoured by Harvard Law School on International Women’s Day 2019 for being powerful voices inspiring change globally. She is a member of the Governing Board of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (ICEL), a board member of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the Chair of the Association of Environmental Law Lecturers in African Universities (ASSELLAU).