Covid-19 affects everyone but it affects everyone differently. Early data shows that mortality rates from covid-19 is higher for men but the pandemic is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls.
I found it really sad how women are the one who sacrifice the most to raise what is called “humanity” today, are the ones who are consistently being abused. One in five women worldwide has experienced violence in the past year.
According to the “International Labour Office,” nearly 60 percent of women work in the informal economy, and these women are at greater risk of falling into poverty. As these markets fail and businesses close due to the pandemic, millions of women’s jobs have disappeared. The school closures and the increased need of older people, as a result, women unpaid care work has increased exponentially.
Women unpaid care work is the essential heart of successful families and communities. Women averaged 10 years on unpaid care and domestic work prior to COVID-19. However, the pandemic has added to this load. What are the consequences then? While women are often referred to "the homemakers”, meaning they often lose out on the option of paid work. If you add up paid, unpaid work and simultaneous tasks, women often work longer hours than men.
What does this mean then? This means that women are consistently losing opportunity in education and employment. Teenage girls out of school may never return. Mothers who lost their jobs are facing financial crisis and hardship. However, there are things that we can do to reduce the workload of women and girls.
Care work is everybody's responsibility. Everyone can advocate and act as role models for each other. That starts by encouraging women as leaders with equal representation and decision making power.
The study by American consulting firm “McKinsey & Company”, suggests that firms with better gender balance in their strategic functions show superior performance. These positive qualities of women in leadership can be seen in many countries around the world. The qualities such as empathy, resilience and listening seem to be more suitable for the challenges of the 21th century.
Among the countries that have fared best so far are Germany, Taiwan, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, and Finland. Do you know what these countries have in common? They are led by women.
Covid-19 is not only challenging global health systems, but also testing our common humanity. Together, we can build a society with strong foundations.