Covid-19 and women's equality

A nurse with cleaning equipment, a woman in an apron cooking, a women in a lab coat with shopping, a call handler, and a woman ironingWe want to know how Covid-19 is impacting on women's lives in Scotland.

This isn't just a public health issue for women - it comes with an increase in unpaid care, precarity for those in insecure housing, higher risks for those in low-paid and precarious work, damaging societal expectations of motherhood, new ways of carrying out online harassment, and many other ways in which women are being discriminated against.

Your stories of how the pandemic is affecting you - from domestic micro-aggressions to exploitative employers - will be used to inform our policy work and highlight how the virus is having a disproportionate impact on women.

If you are seeking support, please visit our Covid-19 resources page here.

Unemployed disabled on long term benefits
January 25, 2021

I have had so many problems dealing with the government departments in tax revenue and Department of working pensions. I have been trying for the last four years to set up a small self-employment arrangement as I’m allowed to do permitted work which was two hours a week which is now four.

It is so degrading to be spoken to like I am a 10-year-old by the HM revenue and customs when I’m very clear about what their responsibilities are.

Type don’t find easy is accounting because I have dyscalculia and ADHD with a congenital disability which compounds that and exacerbates my autonomic system by just trying to stabilise my body constantly from the brain it’s not something I have that much control over unless I stop communicating with the person who is causing me the problem

Happened to me was that the tax officer after even nearly an hour would not stop talking and was talking to me as if I was not sensible I said this kind of behaviour that he was using to interrogate me was enough to make somebody not want to continue so he was being over personal and invasive and his approach and I felt very uncomfortable with his line of questioning which had nothing to do with the actual problem that was created by another organisation run by men who ripped me off and I was part of a scam so I’m not paying for that and trying to survive

Today was the day when I became distressed and tired of being ‘bullied’
I don’t want to work anymore I don’t see the point

I’m fed up with dealing with men that speak to me as if I’m insignificant
I don’t want to deal with heterosexual men anymore - it’s too much for me to deal with on my own
I don’t feel that I’m a part of the system because I’m not represented
I’m dealing with men who address me like a “father” - like patriarchs from Victorian Britain in draconian tones

I don’t know what else to say apart from I’ve had enough this is not a country I want to living in its current state

Mother of 3
January 17, 2021

Had to give up my job (most likely career) as a midwife as the final straw was no childcare if no school, and if I was working I'd then have to work alternate days to my partner, reducing his ability to work when he earns more money for the household. His business is less than a year old so he didn't qualify for any financial assistance, or furlough at any point, however his customer base has definitely been affected by the pandemic. When the first lockdown was announced and I suddenly had no childcare for work, I couldn't go to work for several weeks and later had annual leave entitlement and money deducted from my pay to cover the unavoidable time off I had had to take. For several months during the spring/summer lockdown I then worked alternate days to my partner and our household income was greatly reduced, with no financial assistance to make up the shortfall. We were also renting and had no support from our landlord and later had to move house.

Alongside all this, my abusive ex partner (and biological father of my children) has taken me to court as the children have refused to visit him. I had made a police report and social work report for serious issues, but due to the pandemic he was not properly interviewed and a serious child related incident and years of historic abuse were lessened to "just a joke" by him over the phone and the cases were closed without further investigation. Solicitor and court matters are all via telephone and a child hearing will be carried out by conference call - leaving me feeling alone, unsupported and without all information being able to be given - body language etc. I feel my ex can hide behind the telephone and I'm worried, because this matter is so incredibly important and will have a huge impact on mine and my children's futures.

Myself and my children are now left completely reliant on my new partner for money. Since giving up my NHS job, I have applied for universal credit however it has been several weeks and I have yet to hear anything.

Mother of 1
June 18, 2020

Hello Mums,

I'm a working women who is working in renowned IT firm. Since my daughter was just 4 months and I'm working till now as she is now 7 year. Over the years I thought things will become better but it acts like a slow poison and is rupturing my relations with my kid and husband. I have faced many challenges raising her. Though my in-laws are there to take care of her, we don't have a healthy relationship.

My daughter's main challenges are:
1. Food and eating problems
2. Watching excessive mobile and TV
3. Not doing homework and doesn't want to study and write home work and during Covid 19 - she has totally lost interest in studies.
4 .Don't listen to parents or grand parents.

I'm losing love and respect from my husband's side and from in-laws side due to work schedules and styles.Yes definitely I'm helping my family through my earnings but I'm losing happiness, love, care, attention and rupturing relationship with my kid.

What is the use of working then? My parents who are very hard work and belongs to middle class family don't let me lose job.

Can anyone suggest me what is the right thing to do at this point.

Shall I leave my job during covid 19 period? As many who want jobs are not having them. And I have job but I'm not happy .


Single mother carer worker lecturer student
May 23, 2020

Lockdown began on 16th March. Face to face teaching ended then too. Forced to try and deliver term 3 of a practical course on line to young adults who are obviously sitting thinking, this is not what I signed up for. I have two jobs, working part time and teaching part time. Both are now being done from home.
Then school shut and now juggling primary 7 son school work and two jobs at home. My son has a diagnosis of high functioning autism. I am blessed with a beautiful boy who is smart, funny and a talented artist. He is very sociable and is missing talking with everyone he meets. I worry about his mental health with lockdown and what will 1st year secondary school look like. I am a Masters student in my 3rd year an have a fast approaching deadline of 30th June for submission of work. I am a carer for my mother who is a cancer patient. She is shielding. I help with changing her bed, hovering cleaning floors, bathroom and kitchen weekly. Normally I would shop for her too, but so thankful to her brother that he has been shopping for her since the start of lockdown. I worry for my mother’s mental health during this lockdown. She has battled 5 different types of cancer over the last 20 years. The later three years battling 3 very serious cancers and amazing she has come through and is in remission for two of them. She was only just getting out to the theatre, gigs and restaurants when lockdown happened. Both my older brothers live in different city’s, and kind of leave it to me to help our mother normally, however I think this situation feels like it’s harder to manage everything. I got out of the abusive relationship with my sons father and I have been a single parent for 9 years now. The relationship is still volatile. My sons father has been no practical help through lockdown or before. My son stays with his father at the weekend, this allows me one day where I can breathe, sleep and write. I know that I am lucky to have this one day. I feel guilt and thing that I should do something to help others in the community on this day. What I miss most right now is siting in the theatre or going to a gig where I can just loose myself in the moment. Just for that moment.

Anonymous woman
May 18, 2020

I am staying in a hostel after leaving an abusive relationship.

Because of Covid-19, all of my court proceedings about getting a divorce, my case against him, and my immigration status have been stopped and my solicitor is on furlough.

I am getting support on the phone from Rape Crisis Scotland and Shakti Women's Aid and they are wonderful, but it is so difficult. Most days I just don't leave my room.

Meanwhile, my ex is using his free time to contact all of my friends and family and spread vicious rumours about me as well as sharing intimate details.

Survivor with children
April 23, 2020

I left a disastrous relationship, now recognised as coercive control, seven years ago. The impact of the relationship on my own mental health and our two children was compounded by manipulation and control that is still playing out these years later. In lockdown, both our children, now young adults, are staying with me. We recently had to go and pick up a delivery from their father's house, some 30 miles away. He got in touch after the pick up, demanding I explain to him why I was breaking social distancing rules and threatening to 'take matters further' if I did not respond. When I did not, why would I? He emailed my work demanding they take action. Last time he contacted my work, shortly after leaving, I was interviewed by police and social work due to allegations of child abuse. His enduring, controlling vengeance exhausts and scares me.

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