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Call for Grant Applications for a Study on COVID-19, Gender and Human Rights for Belarusian Academics

The COVID-19 crisis affects people differently due to already existing structural inequalities, power asymmetries, and cultural and social norms within our societies. “We are all in this together” is not accurate. Even if we are all in this, we are not in it in the same ways. Gender is one of the key dynamics shaping how people are influenced by the ongoing pandemic. Gender inequalities, in interplay with race, ethnicity, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, migration status etc., shape the pandemic’s impact on people’s lives and their access to human rights. The pandemic is exacerbating deeply entrenched gender-based discrimination and social inequalities and further complicates protection of human rights of women, girls and LGBTIs.

While the pandemic might deepen pre-existing gender inequalities, it also provides the opportunity to rethink and reshape the structures, norms, assumptions that our societies are built on. We can turn the crisis into an opportunity to drive transformative change putting different gender groups at the centre for more equal, inclusive and sustainable societies. By doing so, we can achieve more rapid recovery and increase the resilience of our societies when it comes to similar crises in the future. The first step towards this concerns creating better understanding of the gendered human rights implications of COVID-19.

To this end, RWI, in collaboration with our partners all over the world, including, Belarusian State University and other higher education institutions in Belarus, are launching a multi-country research dialogue on gender equality and human rights in the context of Covid-19. Taking part in this multi-country initiative, RWI Europe Office will provide research grants to one Belarusian academic to produce a study on Covid-19’s gendered impact on human rights and in this way supporting further research-based knowledge production on this subject. Potential topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Right to health and gender
  • Gender and unemployment in formal and informal sectors
  • Labor rights and gender
  • Human rights cities and gender
  • Covid-19 preparedness and response in cities and urban settings
  • Unpaid care and housework, gender and human rights
  • Right to food and gender
  • Right to shelter and gender
  • Right to education and gender (including gendered impacts of school closures and remote learning on girls’ right to education)
  • Domestic violence and gender-based violence
  • Environmental rights and gender in the context of Covid-19
  • Restrictions in access to sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Gender in Covid-related decision-making processes at the local, national or regional level and right to participate
  • Gender and rights of persons with disabilities
  • Gendered implications of tracking, contact tracing, and surveillance practices
  • Women’s access to justice in Covid-19 times
  • Gender and right to safe workplace (including workplace safety for frontline health workers)
  • Right to information and gender
  • Gender and rights of people on the move

We are interested in original research proposals analyzing one of these topics from gender and human rights perspective.

What RWI Europe Office offers to a selected Belarusian academic
  • Research grant of SEK 15 000
  • Opportunity to present your work, receive and provide feedback, share knowledge, and exchange ideas with other researchers and experts from different continents in two international webinars (first in August, and second in October) on Covid-19’s gendered impact on human rights.
  • Academic support/mentoring during the research
  • Opportunity to be included in an RWI-edited e-publication or to be published as an RWI-supported paper that will be widely circulated and made visible in RWI’s global academic and policy network
  • Editorial support to improve your manuscript
Deliverables expected from the researcher
  • The researchers are expected to produce the following deliverables in English:
  • A short presentation of the research study in the first webinar in end-August
  • A presentation of the research findings in the second webinar in October
  • A research paper of 600 – 10000 words (The paper will be considered either for inclusion in an RWI-edited e-publication or as an RWI-supported paper to publicized on the RWI website and widely circulated in RWI’s broad global academic and policy network.)
  • A blogpost or online interview to be posted on the RWI website


Application deadline 9 August 2020
Notifying selected grantee 23 August 2020
First webinar August 2020 (exact date will be announced later)
Draft paper submission for review and input 14 September 2020
Revision process By 1 October
Formal submission of the paper 12 October, 2020
Presentation in the second webinar October 2020 (exact date will be announced later)
Revisions by the grantee 1-20 November 2020
Final submission of the paper 20 November 2020
Submission of blogpost 20 November 2020


Application guidelines
Eligibility and selection criteria:
  • Be a researcher with extensive experience in gender equality and non-discrimination research from a rights-based approach, from the humanities or social sciences and be based at Belarusian university or research institute;
  • Applicant shall have and demonstrate English language skills, necessary for academic writing in English.
  • Be committed and available to take part in all activities planned in the research process within agreed timelines.
Assessment process and details

9 August 2020 – submit the application (template provided below) to olga.bezbozhna@rwi.lu.se

23 August 2020 – RWI will notify a successful candidate. If necessary, RWI will carry out oral interviews with the selected candidates in the period 10-22 August 2020.

Grant details

RWI and successful candidate will sign a contract for commissioned research. Instalment will be paid after a final submission of the paper and submission of the blogpost.

Application form in English only
  • CV including list of  selected relevant publications. Please, prioritize mentioning of publications written in English and(or) relevant for the topic of the grant (maximum 2 pages)
  • Abstract of the research proposal (200 words)
  • Research proposal (maximum 2-3 pages). Research proposal shall include:
    • Suggested title
    • Suggested research questions
    • Suggested methodology
    • What mentorship needs do you envisage in the process of preparation of the paper
    • Preliminary bibliography
    • All other relevant information

Please, send your application form to Olga Bezbozhna, RWI Senior Programme Officer olga.bezbozhna@rwi.lu.se  by 9 August 2020. In the subject of your letter indicate the following: “YOUR NAME IN ENGLISH- Covid-19, gender and human rights”