Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates inequalities for women, UN warns

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The Guardian

Alexandra Villareal | 11 April 2020

A global economy in freefall, 1.52 billion students stuck at home, dramatic swells in domestic violence reports and healthcare systems overwhelmed by a single disease all portend vicious side-effects for women during the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations warns.

“There is no single society where we’ve achieved equality between men and women, and so this pandemic is being layered on top of existing inequalities, and it’s exacerbating those inequalities,” Nahla Valji, the UN’s senior gender adviser to the executive office of the secretary general, told the Guardian.

The current public health emergency will probably mean a disproportionate economic impact for women, who often work in service industries hit hard by Covid-19. They also tend to take on the bulk of unpaid family care at home, a burden that has become even more all-consuming amid physical distancing and self-isolation.

And, even as women represent 70% of the global health workforce, the critical resources they need to stay well – reproductive health services, maternal care – may fall by the wayside as the world’s hospitals go into crisis mode. That, in turn, could lead to more maternal mortalities, young pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, according to a UN policy brief published on Thursday.