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
- 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