By: Anika Tasnim Nishat
COVID-19 appears to be the mostly discussed phenomenon of 2020 as we know how deadly the virus has been with the mankind to date, ever since it transpired. As the upsurge of coronavirus cases continues to roll-out, women and men are seen to be affected disproportionately. Both men and women are experiencing the repercussions – not to mention quite differently.
Along with fighting against the novel virus, the social consequences following the pandemic is appalling. Women are disproportionately exhausted compared to what men have to deal with. However, considering the fatality, men are placed at higher risk than women. Some of the recent studies show that male mortality rates have been more than 50% greater in places such as China, France, Italy and South Korea.
When it comes to women, we may not observe the fatality rates at the same rate as men, but there’s something inherently causing women to confront the social upheaval.
Addressing women in this age of crisis essentially ushers us to look into the difficulties accompanying the outbreak and we sincerely acknowledge the fact that women are placed in certain quandary. Here’s why.
Working mothers are put into extreme pressure and constantly found juggling to manage everything. Most of the organizations are even laying off employees due to the inefficiency occurring out of the crisis. As a result, women happen to manage the household chores at one hand and official works on the other, which is even exacerbated by the responsibility of taking care of children.
In Bangladesh, where I live, although women’s participation has increased to a moderate level (36.14% in 2019), by now, the amount is likely to plunge due to the sudden lockdown which caused a lot of companies to let their employees work from home. This has resulted to the increased burden women have to go through, despite having immense workload they’re bound to satisfy.
The rise of domestic violence has become another aftershock that is affecting women and they have no other choice but to stay home considering the harm it may cause to their loved ones. One in three women worldwide has been the victim of physical or sexual violence throughout their lives, making domestic violence "the most common and least documented of human rights violations”, as per World Health Organization (WHO).
As the lockdown continues to extend across the world, the evidence regarding domestic abuse and violence are mounting. Evidences show that there has been an escalation of violence during this lockdown period in countries like China, Spain, Italy, France and so on. Women are clearly enduring physical as well as psychological trauma in this crisis.
Essentially, women who serve as health workers are the first to suffer tremendously. They suffer because of the sudden circumstances in which they are required to stay in service, regardless of being a daughter, mother, wife and homemaker.
Let’s not forget to appreciate all of the women worldwide who do their utmost to conquer this strange passage of time, given the difficulties they face. After all, when negative trajectories set in motion, it is only that through persistent positivity, a miraculous achievement can be unlocked. With traces of kindness and positivity, let us lessen the hardships for those who are suffering. As always, kindness should prevail.