Women and COVID-19 – It´s not just the virus…

Thoughts and reflections from Joanna Toassa, European YWCA Board member and Treasurer

During this COVID-19 pandemic, women’s lives are affected in many ways that are not always visible, due to restrictive measures and lockdown.

Actually pandemic has drastically changed their/our lives. The impact on women’s lives can be categorized into three big categories: economic, social and health.

Many women have lost their jobs, so their income is lost too. Working from home probably means less earnings – reduced income. Pandemic requires extra expenses i.e extra supplies for lock-down, buying masks, gloves, disinfectants, etc.

Staying at home means more work (employees, mothers, educators, cleaners), a tremendous added burden. Not all people can continue their education on line, as schools are closed. Lots of them don’t have access to internet or required equipment.

In times of crisis like this and during quarantine and restriction of movement, many women have to live in the same house, all day long, with their abusers. Domestic abuse and gender-based violence has been increased during COVID – 19 pandemic.

Millions of women worldwide are working in the front lines of COVID – 19 not only as health, social sector workers and care providers at hospitals but in many other cases (local markets vendors, food workers, etc), being at risk of catching the virus themselves.

The pandemic has exposed the real problems of the Health Care system. People with other health problems than COVID – 19 cannot get the health attention they need during the pandemic crisis.

The COVID – 19 crisis makes gender, economic, social and health problems even worse than they are. These problems fill our lives with fear, uncertainty, insecurity and causes anxiety, melancholy, depression and other mental disorders.

We use to say that we are all in this together. Yes, we are all in the same sea, but we are not in the same boat. Some of us are in a big boat and some in a small one. And a lot of us are in the water swimming and struggling for our lives.

Here is where solidarity comes to ease the differences, to help the most in need.