How Has The Pandemic Deepened Economic Challenges Women Face?

Published March 7th, 2021 - 07:30 GMT
How Has The Pandemic Deepened Economic Challenges Women Face?
The pandemic has particularly left a deeper scar on several groups, ones that have already been marginalized. (Shutterstock: Liudmyla Guniavaia)

COVID-19's disruptions of ordinary life affairs can be traced in each and every aspect of life over the last year, especially that humanity is still combating the viral outbreak in every possible way. Yet, the pandemic has particularly left a deeper scar on several groups, ones that have already been marginalized and working their ways slowly for better rights and better living conditions, including women.

We can never finish discussing the different whammies that have been caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Even a year after it has infected millions of people around the world, the virus is still wreaking havoc around, changing lives and destroying long-awaited achievements.

For years before 2020, women have been suffering undeniable levels of discrimination, whether in terms of social norms, rules, laws, political or economic opportunities.

However, most of the accomplishments that have been achieved over the last few decades have been lost to various degrees due to COVID-19. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, women make up the majority of workers in the healthcare sector in the Middle East, which has greatly affected their lives during the last year.

Additionally, women make up the majority of workers in the informal workforce, such as house workers, cooks, and street vendors, which means that they are more prone to losing their sources of income than men, pressured by the acute economic recession the world is still tackling.

Whether we are talking about the health risks women working in this domain are facing or about the increasingly challenging task of balancing work with family obligations that have been traditionally tasked to women, such as unpaid work or taking care of their kids despite year-long schools' closures, women have been facing unprecedented difficulty as a result of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the same applies to women working in the education field, as they have to continue working from home while providing all kinds of care to their kids, without being offered the chance to have a break.

This virus has also jeopardized the chances of women who are trying to join the workforce in the region, as months-long lockdowns and the deepening economic crises have slashed their chances of getting decent jobs or being paid what their male counterparts are earning, hindering the decades-long work to bridge the pay gap between men and women in the region.

Consequently, these negative impacts on women's financial and social status have also influenced their rights in many of the region's countries, which has been evident in the rising number of domestic violence incidents reported in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and many other countries.

What should governments do during the post-COVID era to ensure a better status for women? How can we guarantee that the pre-pandemic gains in terms of women's rights and access to opportunities will not be lost completely? 


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