so, lemme catch you up to speed real quick. i’m on the newsletter team for my school. we publish once a month- it’s full of articles, columns, advice, jokes etc.
this month, i’m actually really proud of what i wrote- it was a slightly challenging topic, and thought it’d be nice to share with you’ll.
hope you like it.
THE PLIGHT OF WOMEN IN TIMES OF PANDEMICS:
The coronavirus pandemic has affected us in ways that nobody could foresee: the shutters of shops remain closed for weeks on end, streets that once overflowed with people and cars are now silent and hollow, and children stare blankly at screens as teachers try their hardest to teach. But one of the most alarming trends is the step-back we are taking in our journey towards gender equality.
We may think the pandemic affects everyone equally- but the statistics tell a starkly different story. Before the pandemic, about 303,000 women died of childbirth every year. Now, with most resources being diverted toward battling the pandemic, Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the UN stated that risk of dying during childbirth has further increased. According to the Kathmandu Post, in Nepal, maternal mortality rates have increased by a whopping 200% ever since strict lockdown was introduced
The digitalization of learning has affected school-going girls adversely, as many don’t have access to the Internet. In India, there are closely 258 million male Internet users- and the female Internet consumers are exactly half of that. The bias is far more evident in rural areas, which house 70% of India’s population. Here, men account for roughly two-thirds of Internet usage- the ratio is split with 72% of users being male, and the remaining 28% being female.
When physical schools were on, there were already fewer girls attending schools- and now that online school has begun, even more are dropping out! In a country like ours, where 88 million people live below the poverty line, access to technology is far and few. Whatever little access that a few families do have, the breadwinners are prioritised. In a patriarchal society like ours, if there is access to one or more gadgets, the male children’s needs are put first.
Not to mention, quarantine has also affected the careers of single mothers badly. Over 90% of single parents are women, and being forced to stay at home while raising one or more children has proved a difficult task. Jessica el Aboudi works full time as a health communications specialist at the Center for Disease Control- that means 12 hours a day, 6 days a week sitting at a laptop screen while trying to raise her children. In an interview with CNN, she states that “the biggest win as a single parent is that we’ve survived another day!”. Similar difficulties are faced by Crystal King- who’s a single mom in Atlanta. She struggles with kidney failure while trying to single-handedly raise her three year old son. This already-difficult situation has been worsened by the pandemic. Even in houses with two parents, lockdowns and curfews have forced many women with careers back into their traditional gender roles.
The pandemic is a nightmare for feminism. It has torn down lots of what we had slowly built. Instead of walking two steps forward and one step back, we’ve been pushed all the way back to square one. All I can say is this- despite all our progress, despite us being in the 21st century, women are still the one bearing the greater burden.
sorry, it’s rather long. any feedback? don’t hesitate! just tell me in the comment section. i’d love to hear what you think!