From education to entrepreneurship, global recovery efforts need to pay particular attention to the needs of women and girls.

Policymakers haven't always considered how economic shocks impact women and men differently - or how governments should respond.

When the 2008 recession hit, few asked how stimulus measures would affect women compared with men.

That approach won't work for the COVID-19 crisis. As leaders face the enormous challenge of rebuilding post-pandemic economies, women must be at the center of their strategies.

In many countries, women have been hit hardest by COVID-19 lockdowns.

In Latin America, for example, they were 50% more likely than men to lose a job in the pandemic's first months. Women tend to be heavily employed in vulnerable sectors such as retail, restaurants and hospitality. They also often work in informal jobs from selling wares on the streets to sewing at home, that lack protections such as paid sick leave or unemployment insurance.

When those jobs disappeared, women had no social safety net to fall back on.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.