Living up to our Commitment

Gender transformative programming and influencing during COVID-19
19 May 2020

Girls and women are likely to be worst affected by the secondary impacts of COVID-19. The pandemic has the potential to derail and even reverse the gains made towards gender equality and girls’ rights in the last decade if not addressed. This publication includes case studies that show how our offices are contributing to gender-transformative change in the context of COVID-19. 

In the few months since the COVID-19 pandemic started, it has already created disruptions in societies across the globe and has instituted challenges on how we relate and operate on a daily basis. Exacerbating pre-existing manifestations of gender inequality and social exclusion, it has the potential to stop or even reverse the progress made towards gender equality, inclusion, and girls’ rights.

With its global strategy, 100 Million Reasons, Plan International has committed to adopt a Gender Transformative Approach (GTA) in all its programming and influencing work to be able to sustainably contribute to gender equality and inclusion. With this approach, the organisation is aiming to address the root causes of gender inequality and exclusion and reshape unequal gender and power relations between all children, young people and adults regardless of their gender. 

“The COVID-19 epidemic should not be an excuse to put on hold our commitment to tackling the root causes of gender inequality”

So, while it is pivotal that we as an organisation effectively manage and learn from our short-term humanitarian response to this pandemic, staff are at the same time reflecting on the medium and long-term social and political impacts from COVID-19 and developing flexible and context-specific interventions to address these. This includes creatively finding ways to continue to engage with different actors, partners and organizations (both public and private) every step of the way for implementing a gender transformative approach.

Staff are also using the opportunity the pandemic is offering for continuing to advance their strategic work, for example, in changing gender norms, building individual and collective agency, protecting especially vulnerable groups and strengthening gender and youth-friendly responsive services. We believe that the COVID-19 epidemic should not be an excuse to put on hold our gender transformative approach and our commitment to tackling the root causes of gender inequality.

Plan International’s gender-transformative approach

Together with partners, Plan International is taking action so that 100 million girls learn, lead, decide and thrive. We have committed ourselves to implement a gender transformative approach in our programming and influencing. Our GTA aims to remove the barriers that hold girls back from achieving their  full potential and exercising their rights. It also aims to break the barriers that prevent men and boys from  embracing gender equality, exercising their rights and being champions of change.  

There are six key elements to our GTA, which combined will help us achieve gender equality. These are:  

  1.  Understand and address how gender norms influence children throughout their life-course, from birth through to adulthood.  
  2. Work to strengthen girls’ and young women’s agency over the decisions that affect them, as well as by building their knowledge, confidence, skills and access to and control over resources. 
  3. Work with and support boys, young men and men to embrace positive masculinities and to promote gender equality, while also achieving meaningful results for them.
  4. Consider girls, boys, young women and young men in all their diversity when identifying and responding to their needs and interests.
  5. Improve the conditions (daily needs) and social position (value or status) of girls and young women. 
  6. Foster an enabling environment where all stakeholders work together to support children and youth on their journey towards gender equality.
Download options

Report (English)


2.82 mb

Report (Francais)


5.80 mb

Report (Espanol)


4.88 mb

Emergencies, COVID-19