What will happen once this is all over? What is happening now? What does COVID-19 mean for women? Will feminism come back to square one, or will we pick up from where we left off? Is there a chance for improvement?
What is happening in your home? Parents have to decide whose job is more important. They need to divide the domestic and professional work among themselves. When such a situation occurs, the embedded gender bias inside our heads comes alive. What is the more ‘woman’ thing to do? Who has to ‘hunt and gather’?
Slowly, over the period of the lockdown, women may shift back to the role of the homemaker. And men may become the breadwinners.
That’s just inside your home. On the battlefront, around 70% of the health workforce are women. More women are putting their health at risk than men, but they are still underpaid. Holistically, women are relied upon to take care of people, no matter where they are.
The White House ‘Coronavirus Task Force’ was initially an all-male team. The UK government has excused the companies from reporting their gender pay gap. Women are just 19% of the Coronavirus experts shown on the news. This crisis has denied millions of women safe abortions and safe pregnancies.
Women are losing their jobs during the pandemic. If women lose more jobs than men, we’ll strengthen the patriarchy. If the rates are equal, then we are approaching gender equality. Men losing more jobs than women is a rare situation. We have been through this in the Great Recession of 2008. Though women lost way fewer jobs than men did, a few years after the recession, the jobs men had were more than the jobs women had. We had a chance then, the graph intersected, but it widened once again.
This is a no (wo)man’s time. We are at a halt. There are two ways we can go about it. We can go down the way we’ve trodden over a million times; undermine women and their capabilities. We have always depended on women to take care of ‘unspoken but understood’ things. It’s time to take the less-trodden path. Women are equal to men. Divide the domestic work equally. Companies should treat women and men equally when they return to the workplace. We’ve been given a ‘skip ads’ button. We have been delaying gender equality for a long time, and this is an opportunity to be equal, irrespective of our gender.