COVID-19 has been hard on everyone. It’s a completely new and unnerving situation that is a challenge for us all to navigate.
But it’s important to keep in mind that because of the gender inequality that already exists in our world, women will be hit harder by the current situation than men.
Let’s take a look at why and how we can help.
As a part of the allWomen community, you’re familiar with the cultural biases that create the inequalities that women of all walks of life face everyday at work, at home, and out on the streets.
During times of crisis, those cultural biases don’t just disappear. In fact, they are augmented and significantly impact the lives of women living through difficult times, much like what we’re experiencing with COVID-19.
For starters, economically speaking, outbreaks have been known to disproportionately affect women, yet women make up the majority of the people that combat the diseases.
More specifically with COVID, women make up 70% of the global health workforce fighting on the front lines of this epidemic. And in some places these numbers can be higher: in Shanghai, 90% of nurses are women.
And yet, women are much less likely to have a voice in change during an outbreak. Women only make up 10% of the representatives of the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force.
Then there’s the economic strain. While everyone will feel the effects of a pandemic economically, women tend to experience them for longer. For example, everyone was affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa – but men bounced back much faster than women. But why is this the case?
Well, remember those Pay Gaps we’ve been fighting? It means that men are more likely to make more money than women – and the numbers are even lower for women of color. Which means that when it comes to having children or elderly parents at home, for most families it’s clear who will be taking on the responsibility.
Rather than overt gender bias, questions like: “Who is paid less? Who has the flexibility?” will have many women forfeiting pay checks to take care of family during the crisis. One study found women already take on 76% of unpaid care work. Plus, women make up 60% of the people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Finally, this quarantine means a much higher risk of Domestic Abuse. Globally, 243 million females aged 15-49 have been subject to sexual and/or physical violence by a partner in the past 12 months. With zero escape from abusive partners during the quarantine, this number is only expected to increase.
As women who empower women, it’s important for us to encourage the growth of a global community that protects and supports the women of the world, especially during crises such as this one.
If you want to help, consider donating money: the UN has a COVID fund that helps women that are suffering from the effects of the crisis or support female domestic workers with the Domestic Work Alliance fund. And don’t forget the power of working against cultural biases in our own lives!
allWomen is a proud community of women, and our mission has always been to close the gender gap in tech. But along with that comes learning how to weaken the cultural biases that cause the inequalities that we’re seeing today.
Join us in supporting women around the world through this crisis!