Women are hit harder by pandemics than men, experts say. They are more likely to shoulder domestic responsibilities including care of the sick and are at increased risk for domestic violence and economic instability.
Those inequities, the experts says, need to be addressed by government.
According to Nature, United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres said there has been a “horrifying global surge of domestic violence” since COVID-19 lockdowns were put in place. According to Psychology Today, statistics from the U.N. shows that three months of quarantine resulted in a 20% increase in what experts call “intimate partner violence” or IPV, bringing the total to around 15 million cases.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, expressed “alarm by the reported increase of domestic violence incidents” in a Twitter dated April 6. Unfortunately, social isolation is one of the most prevalent factors that drives domestic violence, according to Psychology Today.
According to Nature, most countries overlook the fact that more women and their livelihoods are economically affected by the pandemic. A few countries, like Canada for example, increased its childcare benefit which goes directly to moms unless otherwise noted.
More women are employed in the sectors with the most layoffs such as hospitality, travel, education, and retail and many had to quit part-time work because of lockdowns. According to TIME, two-thirds of restaurant workers who depend on tips for income are women and most do not have paid leave.
Women also are more likely to work in highly contagious fields such as healthcare. In fact, according to TIME, 92% of nurses are women. Added to the already disproportionate hardship women face, they are most likely to be the caregivers. There are five times the number of single moms in the U.S. as single dads, and women are 10 times more likely to stay home taking care of sick children. With school closures, this places a tremendous burden on mothers.
Experts urge governments to address the gender inequality issue and help respond to the needs of women in America and worldwide during crises such as the coronavirus pandemic.
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