Gender in the times of Crisis

  • IASbaba
  • April 21, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Social empowerment; Role of Women & Women’s organisations
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

Gender in the times of Crisis

Context: The traditional gender role that women play affects them uniquely in global crises and thus requires a measured societal & government response

What is the experience with regard to gender during crisis?

  • Vulnerability to deaths: Women lack many life skills such as swimming and climbing 
  • Gender insensitive Temporary facilities: Women face hygiene challenges in shelter camps set up post-calamities
  • Difficulties in Post-crisis rehabilitation: Slowdown leaves women with additional wage cuts post crisis especially when pay disparity between genders is a norm.
  • Loss of livelihoods: Women are also engaged in post-calamity care, missing job opportunities. 

Issues faced by women during this pandemic

  • Increased Disease vulnerability: According to WHO around 70% of the world’s health workers are women, 79% of nurses are women.
  • Attack on women workers: There are incidents where ASHA workers, who work at the ground level in tracing & tracking epidemic spread, are attacked while on COVID-19 duty, primarily due to fake news/rumours
  • Increased instances of sexual abuse & gender violence during lockdown when men don’t have access to alcohol and thus vent out their frustration on women.
  • Entrenchment of Patriarchy: Even in households where both partners work, during the lockdown, women not only Work from Home but also have additional household work
  • Psychological anxiety: The fear of job loss and reduced income can create mental pressure on women
  • Culture of silence: Hormone-induced depression, Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) pregnancy-related depressive conditions, postpartum depression are some of the health issues that gets intensified during lockdown. This is because both men & women are trained to follow the culture of silence regarding these issues

Way Ahead

  • Assigning ASHA workers to specifically address women’s welfare during this pandemic
  • Grievance redressal platforms: Setting up exclusive cells to quickly address domestic violence and women’s health-related issues, 
  • Awareness: Including men in conversations to make them sensitive about women issues
  • Gender-inclusive helplines: When only women attend women distress calls, there is reinforcing of stereotypical ‘care-giver’ role of women.
  • Need to develop a culture of including women’s safety in the planning phase itself irrespective of whatever the nature of the crisis is.

Connecting the dots:

  • Measures taken by government regarding women welfare
  • Gender Budgeting

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