The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health issue. It‘s a shock to our societies and economies, and it affects women and men differently. Globally, women have been hit harder by the impact of the virus. Here‘s how:
- Women make up 70% of frontline workers in the health and social sector worldwide. They are nurses, midwives, cleaners and laundry workers.
- Women are not only in the forefront of the crisis as health workers, they also do three times as much unpaid care work as men.
- Women are at increased risk of infection due to their line of work, domestic violence and loss of livelihood and have less access to sexual and reproductive health services as healthcare systems become overstretched.
- With children out of school, mothers at home may still work, but many have also become teachers and caregivers.
- For the 8.5 million women migrant domestic workers, often on insecure contracts, income loss also affects their dependents back at home.
- Violence against women is already an epidemic in all societies. On average, 137 women are killed every day by a member of their own family. We also know that levels of domestic violence and sexual exploitation spike when households are placed under the increased strains that come from security, health and money worries, and cramped and confined living conditions. Reported domestic violence has tripled recently in some countries practicing social distancing.
What we need now are strategies that specifically target both the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on women. And in order to make those responses as well designed as possible, women should be fully engaged in their creation, be priority recipients of aid, and partners in building the longer-term solutions.
However, this needs funding; organizations responding to COVID-19 need budgeted resources for gender and social inclusion. Rather than cutting support to gender equality measures, we need to enhance it.
Lend your support by sending the text message KONUR to 1900 to donate 1.900 ISK to the cause.