Dr. Rina Dongre
AISSMS College of Hotel Management & Catering Technology
Recently I was writing a research paper on the Impact of covid on women and came across many works of literature, documents, and research papers. It made me realize that throughout the world plight of the females is the same. Many times I have contemplated myself about leaving the job…sometimes the reason was relocation, other time it was a pregnancy or many a times it was an evaluation of its practicality to spend so much of time outside home for a salary which is too less compared to my husband’s. When I was working on this paper it made me realize I am not the only one thinking on these lines. Even today in 2021, the word ‘gender parity or ‘gender equality is just the term and a distant dream to be fulfilled. This pandemic has just highlighted the issues and it was studied and brought to the notice. Even the UN took notice of these issues and drafted the policies taking note of these studies.
The points which were noticed prominently by various researchers are:
Economic Impact: 39% of the women are globally employed. But post covid, the rate of unemployment among them is 54%. It’s been proved by the various studies that post-crisis, their re-entry into employment takes a very long time. During Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks, the females in the affected countries didn’t get the opportunity to re-enter the job market. The males on the other hand got the preference and their life came to normal much early. In most cases, the women hold jobs at lower positions and have lesser paying jobs. This makes women economically weak as losing employment has a long-term impact which in the end, makes them economically fragile. It also affects the kids- in terms of providing education, basic vaccination, etc.
Health Care: During the crisis time, most females don’t get the proper health care. The provision of sanitary napkins, birth control devices are also not available forcing them to have unwanted pregnancies or unsafe abortions. The PPE kits which were manufactured were by default of male sizes putting the females in the medical profession at fatal risk. It’s worth mentioning here that in China, 98 % Front line workers working as medical persons or support staff are females and in the USA it is 75%. Despite this, the PPE kits made were by default of male size.
Domestic Violence: Stress, financial burden, and crisis are the major factors contributing to domestic violence. All 3 were present during the pandemic, increasing domestic violence worldwide. One research proved that 96% of the women faced psychological violence during the pandemic. Physical and economic violence was equally faced by the majority of women. There was an average of 50 deaths recorded weekly in France due to domestic violence. Interestingly, one of the studies in Kerala proves that women who own houses and land are less likely to face domestic violence. This proves the importance of economic independence against domestic violence.
The world depends upon the unpaid work done by women which means that the world economy depends upon the unpaid work done by them. The care of the sick and elderly at home, raising the kids, doing the household chores are the unpaid and unnoticed duties performed by women for which they are not even acknowledged. It is proven that females have to work thrice more than their male counterparts to prove themselves. All this leaves them with very little time for leisure, self-development, or career development.
This pandemic has once again proved the need and importance of women empowerment where she needs to undergo the process of awareness and conscientization, to build her capacity for greater participation and involvement in decision-making. This alone will bring transformation!
So next time, if you or any of your female acquaintances talk about leaving a job, ask her to read this blog and tell her being economically independent is the first step towards empowerment!