Tuesday, May 18

The Guardian’s Viewpoint on Women and the Pandemic: What Happened to Building Back Better? | Inequality

One year after the pandemic, women have little reason to celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow and less energy to fight for change. Men are more likely to die from Covid-19. But women have suffered the biggest economic and social blows. They have borne the brunt of increased caregiving, have been more likely to lose their jobs, and have seen a sharp increase in domestic abuse.

In the UK, women two-thirds of the additional childcare in the first confinement, and he was more likely to be suspended. In the US, each of the 140,000 jobs lost in December belonged to a womanThey saw 156,000 jobs disappear, while men gained 16,000. But white women actually gained, while black and Latino women, disproportionately in jobs that offer no sick pay and little flexibility, lost. Race, wealth, disability, and immigration status have determined who is most affected. Previous experience suggests that the effects of health crises can be long-lasting: in Sierra Leone, more than a year after the Ebola outbreak, 63% of men had returned to work, but only 17% of women.

The disruption to girls’ education is particularly alarming: Malala Fund research suggests that 20 million may never go back to school. The United Nations Population Fund warns that there could be 13 million more child marriages over the next decade and 7 million more unintended pregnancies; both provision of and access to reproductive health services has been disrupted. In the US, Ohio and Texas exploited disease control measures to reduce access to abortions. The UN has described the rise in domestic violence that began in China and spread around the world as a “shadow pandemic.” Research has even suggested that the pandemic may lead to more restrictive ideas about gender roles, with uncertainty that promotes conservatism.

The coronavirus has not created inequality or misogyny. It has exacerbated them and exposed them. Structural problems such as the wage gap, as well as gender expectations, explain why women have taken on more additional care. The pandemic radicalizing effect It has echoes of the #MeToo movement. The women knew the challenges they faced, but Covid has met them with unpleasant truths in both. intimate and institutional levels.

By doing so, you have created an opportunity to do better. Germany has given parents a 10 additional days of paid leave to cover illness or closures of schools and kindergartens, and single-parent families 20. The Czech authorities have trained postal workers to identify possible signs of domestic abuse. But the deeper task is to rethink our flawed economies and find ways to reward the work that is essential to all of us. So far, there is very little evidence that it can be rebuilt better.

About 70% of health and social care workers worldwide are women, and they are concentrated in lower-paying and lower-status jobs. They deserve a decent salary. The 1% raise offered to NHS workers in the UK is an insult. The government also needs to rescue the childcare sector: without it, women will not go back to work. He has not done evaluations of the impact of equality on key decisions – and that shows us. It is true that the budget has earmarked £ 19 million to tackle domestic violence, but Women’s Aid estimated £ 393 million needed. And the UK is slashing international aid at a time when it spends on services such as reproductive health it is more essential than ever. However, as a donor, you should at least push recipient governments to prioritize women in their recovery plans.

Overworked and undervalued women are more aware than ever of the need for change and less able to push for it. Men must also play their part. Some have more fully recognized the demands of childcare and housework, and have seen the potential benefits of greater involvement in the home. Meaningful “use it or lose it” paternity leave could help reestablish expectations both in families and in the workplace. There were never easy solutions and many are searching more than ever. But the pandemic has shown that we cannot continue like this.


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