A greater impact on women
#GS2 #Governance #WomenSafety
COVID-19 poses a threat to women’s livelihoods as well as increases their burden at home
- The pandemic is exposing and exploiting inequalities of all kinds, including gender inequality. In the long term, its impact on women’s health, rights and freedoms could harm us all.
- The increase in the risk of violence towards women trapped with abusive partners under lockdown has gone up.
- Over 143 governments have committed to supporting women and girls at risk of violence during the pandemic.
- Every country can take action by moving services online, expanding domestic violence shelters and designating them as essential, and increasing support to frontline organisations.
- But the threat to women’s rights and freedoms posed by COVID-19 goes far beyond physical violence.
Unfair, unequal treatment
- Women are disproportionately represented in poorly paid jobs without benefits, as domestic workers, casual labourers, street vendors, and in small-scale services like hairdressing.
- The International Labour Organization estimates that nearly 200 million jobs will be lost in the next three months alone – many of them in these sectors.
- And just as they are losing their paid employment, many women face a huge increase in care work due to school closures, overwhelmed health systems, and the increased needs of older people.
- Even at the best of times, women do three times as much domestic work as men. That means they are more likely to be called on to look after children if businesses open while schools remain closed, delaying their return to the paid labour force.
- Entrenched inequality also means that while women make up 70% of healthcare workers, they are vastly outnumbered by men in healthcare management, and comprise just one in every 10 political leaders worldwide.
- Women in insecure jobs urgently need basic social protections, from health insurance to paid sick leave, childcare, and unemployment benefits.
- Looking ahead, measures to stimulate the economy, like cash transfers, credits, loans and bailouts, must be targeted at women.
- This pandemic is not only challenging global health systems, but our commitment to equality and human dignity.