Gender gap and violence on the rise due to Covid-19
(Photo: Mansi Thapliya/ REUTERS)

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit us all. But it is affecting women more on different fronts. One of the biggest risks they face is a reversal of attempts to close the gendergap.

Women represent 70% of health workers worldwide. According to Mariagrazia Squicciarini, Head of Unit at the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this is why they are more exposed to the risk of infection and exhaustion involved in working in a situation of prolonged stress for several months.

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However, the situation for women who stay at home is not encouraging either. Gender bias is becoming stronger in relation to domestic chores and taking care of the family.

“They prepare several meals a day. They work remotely or go to work and return to do household chores. They do so much in so little time that it seems (to their employers) that their performance has gone down. That makes them easy prey for being fired. It’s a fact that companies are downsizing their workforces during the pandemic,” added Squicciarini during the event Women in Data Science held by SAP Mexico.

Araceli Campos, Director of Laboratoria Mexico, said that another factor influencing this inability to close the gap is the unevenness in reinvestment of income. Women reinvest up to 90% of their salary in the family, while men reinvest 40%.

What’s more, women tend to do unpaid housework to a greater extent than men, up to approximately 2.5 hours per day.

Psychological and physical violence issues

Another area that has been aggravated during lockdown is that of cases of violence against women. According to the UN, the emergency caused by the pandemic has put us at greater risk of violence.

14 out of the 25 countries with the greatest number of femicides are in Latin America, according to information from this organization. Just between January and February of this year, more than 40,000 emergency calls related to incidents of violence against women were made to 911.

“Violence is amplified in lockdown situations, and I believe that technologies, especially information and communication technologies, can help women to be more aware and have access to more information and resources that can help them resolve many of the problems that Covid-19 is aggravating,” added the OECD spokeswoman.


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