TNI Bureau: The Covid 19 pandemic has left the World devastated and traumatized. People are stuck at their homes indefinitely. Although some countries seem to have improved, others like India are facing the worst. During these times, women became vulnerable to domestic violence, unpaid work at home, high risk of economical insecurities, exploitations, abuses etc that they have been facing from time immemorial.
But since the Covid 19 pandemic has begun, women have played a major role as frontline health workers and primary caregivers. They make almost 70% of the total work force who are fighting for Covid 19 on the ground. According to the data, the pandemic has hit men more than women. Fatality rate of men is 80% higher than that of women. The ANMs, Angadwadi and Asha have moved around amidst the pandemic, risking their lives and have done as much as possible in medical, health and emergency services. They have also assisted the police force in ensuring that people stayed inside their home unless it’s absolutely necessary.
In this regard, Archana Rai Bhatt, the secretary of the Mahila Kalyan Samiti has said, “Women have swung into action and actively joined the battle against Covid-19. Right from providing health services, sanitation, working as house helps or being a part of police and administration, they are constantly on the move. Those staying at home should now realise how women risk their family and their own lives while on duty. Even the homemakers are on their toes 24×7 as most of the family members stay home.”
Despite this, the vulnerability of a woman is more than a man due to the unequal gender standards of the society. A research says that among senior citizens the percentage of women on low income staying alone is significantly more than men – putting them under the risk of economic insecurity.
The development centres of social institutions of The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Gender Index (SIGI) conducted a survey and said that women carry out 10 times more care work than men, and are still under threats and exploitation risks. And they have constituted two third of the total care workers around the globe for the covid 19 pandemic. Not only that, women are under-represented as doctors, dentists and pharmacists. In Spite of this, it must be noted that 85% of the nurses are women in 104 countries (whose data are available). Along with that the OECD, which is an intergovernmental economic organisation, has 38 countries as its members and (2019) almost more than half of the doctors there are women.
With women leading from the front and managing the pandemic that has left the entire world in a state of wreck, the first step should be ensuring the inclusion of women in national and global pandemic preparedness, operational space and response policy. In addition, a woman representative at community-level decision-making must be ensured. It is also advisable to have women representatives as contributors to identify local trends and responsive policies.
To reduce the risk of threats and exploitations on women around the world, it is important to acknowledge them as leaders, forefronters and achievers.