The<a href="https:\/\/www.un.org\/en\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> United Nations<\/a> Secretary-General Ant\u00f3nio Guterres gave a video message on women and COVID-19.\r\n\r\nHe said: "The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere. But it affects different groups of people differently, deepening existing inequalities."\r\n\r\n"Early data indicates that the mortality rates from COVID-19 may be higher for men. But the pandemic is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls," he added.\r\n\r\nHe continued: "Today we are launching a report that shows how COVID-19 could reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women\u2019s rights \u2013 and recommends ways to put women\u2019s leadership and contributions at the heart of resilience and recovery. Nearly 60 percent of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty."\r\n\r\n<a href="https:\/\/see.news\/guterres-world-health-day-at-very-difficult-time-for-all\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Guterres<\/a> went on saying: "As markets fall and businesses close, millions of women\u2019s jobs have disappeared. At the same time as they are losing paid employment, women\u2019s unpaid care work has increased exponentially as a result of school closures and the increased needs of older people."\r\n\r\nThe Secretary-General stated: "These currents are combining as never before to defeat women\u2019s rights and deny women\u2019s opportunities. Progress lost takes years to regain. Teenage girls out of school may never return."\r\n\r\nThe rest of his speech came as follows:\r\n\r\nI urge governments to put women and girls at the center of their efforts to recover from COVID-19.\r\n\r\nThat starts with women as leaders, with equal representation and decision-making power.\r\n\r\nMeasures to protect and stimulate the economy, from cash transfers to credits and loans, must be targeted at women.\r\n\r\nSocial safety nets must be expanded.\r\n\r\nUnpaid care work must be recognized and valued as a vital contribution to the economy.\r\n\r\nThe pandemic has also led to a horrifying increase in violence against women.\r\n\r\nNearly one in five women worldwide has experienced violence in the past year. Many of these women are now trapped at home with their abusers, struggling to access services that are suffering from cuts and restrictions.\r\n\r\nThis was the basis for my appeal to governments earlier this week to take urgent steps to protect women and expand support services.\r\n\r\nCOVID-19 is not only challenging global health systems but testing our common humanity.\r\n\r\nGender equality and women\u2019s rights are essential to getting through this pandemic together, to recovering faster, and to building a better future for everyone.