Members' area: Sign in or join Engender

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.

Agency Worker who has had coronavirus
May 26, 2020

I'm in precarious work, which fortunately can be done from home, and have been since before lockdown.

In mid-March, my husband and I started to feel ill with coronavirus symptoms over a weekend and I was told by the agency I work for that I was eligible for SSP from day one only if I evidenced my contact with 111...? So I took a screenshot of my call from my mobile?

At the end of March, I was told by the agency that my post was no longer required as the employer was halting all normal activity, but two days later I was called by the employer directly to ask me to come back and assist with Covid response.

While this was ongoing, I was recovering from covid but had to have antibiotics delivered for a chest infection. My husband, meanwhile, took much longer to recover which we now understand is the case with some, with an almost malarial relapse effect happening every other week for months. This meant that I had to take on most of the cleaning and meal prep and emotional labour of contacting/updating family.

A few more weeks on, we are physically doing better, but we can both feel our mental health sliding. I am coping with my clinical anxiety and depression by trying to leave the house once a day, even if it's just to sit on the grass outside, and eat fruits and vegetables but I don't manage it every day.

Sometimes I hope the lockdown end comes quickly but then I know my work depends on it at the moment and I feel anxious about trying to find another job. I try to stay positive and remind myself that we have been luckier than a lot of people.

Furloughed Bartender, Volunteer Support Worker with Glasgow East Women’s Aid, Survivor
May 20, 2020

Surviving?
TW: rape, anxiety/depression, PTSD

I somewhat unwillingly and reluctantly adopted the term ‘survivor’ for myself after I was raped by my friend’s ex boyfriend and his friend whilst passed out in their flat.

At the time, I didn’t understand it; I thought it was somehow my fault. My mind told me that I had drank too much, I had been too trusting, I should’ve fought them off. I was left in a bubble of self-hate, confusion and guilt which left me unable to leave my cold student flat in the West End of Glasgow.

But the truth with my assault, and with every assault imposed on someone by another human being, is that I wasn’t to blame. My choice in the matter was taken from me, the men made an active decision to take advantage of an inebriated young woman.

I survived an ordeal that no human being should go through. I became a survivor.

Two years have passed, and the initial shock of the experience sent me into what I can only describe as a ‘blurred reality’. My mood was low, I questioned friendships, I engaged in reckless behaviour (sex, drinking, recreational drugs) - all of which put pressure on my working life.

In November last year, I was finally able to engage in an intimate relationship. Unfortunately, this intimacy and trust required did trigger many memories which led to my diagnosis of PTSD and depression. I had just started on medication a month before ‘Lockdown’, and work remained the best distraction and coping mechanisms to work through my mental health issues.

My manager at work has been unbelievably understanding throughout my recovery. When I needed time off, it was granted. When I needed a moment to stop the many panic attacks in their tracks, they gave me time. After a while, work became the only positive routine in my life. It was set hours, set people and set tasks - I could do it without thinking.

When the closure of bars and restaurants was announced, I was in the pub for my (unknown to me then) last shift. A sudden panic swept over me as I heard the ‘furlough’ terms, the limited guidance and the shock and sadness from colleagues and customers. My routine was gone! Every coping strategy I had taken so long to develop was swept from under my feet.

I am not ‘surviving’ on furlough. Days are rolling into one, I’m finding it hard to distract myself from the ‘bad’ thoughts brought up by staring at the same few walls. I’m losing the motivation to engage in conversations with friends, family and even just getting up in the morning. The ‘blurred reality’ I had experienced two years ago is back again. It is taking a toll on my relationship, especially when I can’t control outbursts of panic or anger.

In a world where women already feel shut in, isolated, forgotten about, a reality of ‘furlough’ and lockdown is hard to grasp. You realise how much you depend on things such as jobs or social interactions to distract from your worst thoughts. I am glad that there are services to help (such as Rape Crisis) during this time.

However, despite the Home Secretary’s public message urging women to seek help out of an abusive situation, funding for women’s services is constantly at risk. My own WA Service are constantly in fear of redundancy, and of the women whose lives will be at risk if the services close. Will the government commit to funding and support for women’s services due to the overwhelmed numbers? We can only hope.

Working Mum of 2 year old.
May 18, 2020

I am a full time charity worker, whose thankful to have a job where I can still work from home and understanding colleagues. My partner, and daughter's father, is out of work, so he's taking on the brunt of childcare whilst I carry out work from home.

It's been a strain - our relationship is being tested to new limits with being around each other 24/7. Our daughter, is relatively happy despite toddler outbursts on a half hourly basis. Of course it's hard going keeping a 2 year old entertained. Sometimes we just have to give her the tablet and let her play with games. We can't be 24/7 educators, entertainers and playmates whist being parents. She's desperately missing her friends at nursery, so I am concerned about her socialisation and education which she gets at nursery.

To be honest, I've felt a gnawing sense of guilt at times, trying to work at home, whilst knowing my partner and daughter are there trying to keep occupied/avoid confrontations when things get fraught. I've become the sole earner of the household overnight. Of course we take our breaks and walks when we can but the lines between work and home have become blurred. I long to get out the door in the morning to work with fellow colleagues and be around adults again but I'm no different to any other working Mum trying to keep motivated, balance plates and keep going....just longing for a light at the end of the tunnel.

fed up
May 7, 2020

Couldn't agree more. Identity stripped. Sick of it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/03/i-feel-like-a-1950s-housewife-how-lockdown-has-exposed-the-gender-divide?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WhatsApp

Mother of 2 (4&7), full time student, part time research assistant, part time student support worker, volunteer Rape crisis worker, volunteer community councillor
April 29, 2020

My partner works in secondary services in the NHS in psychology and so doesn’t have much of a role during lockdown however the NHS also insists that as I am not a key worker I am responsible for the full time care (and schooling) of our children. So many plates to spin that I’m exhausted and a little broken.

Mum of two, working from hone.
April 24, 2020

I’m trying to balance working from home and caring for a pre schooler and eight year old and being unsuccessful at both.

I’m feeling resentful towards my partner who is also working from home but does 12 hour days in a home office only surfacing for food and comfort breaks.

He works extremely hard but all of the homeschooling and childcare responsibilities are down to me.

I am about to be redeployed and have asked to work weekends and a couple of days during the week to make things easier.

Social distancer
April 22, 2020

Why why why is it always women having to move out of the way in social distancing?

Why do male joggers think it's ok to come up directly behind you panting in your ear and then making the tiniest adjustment to their route to avoid you?

Upside down
April 22, 2020

I am on furlough from my work so should be throwing myself into my uni course I started. Two weeks before shutdown my partner and I were due to separate. He is still here, things have been challenging but we are like weird housemates so not too much anger. He seems to not follow any rules on non essential travel or work putting me at risk.
I have tried to get emergency housing but there is a shortage where we live.

working from home
April 22, 2020

Quite a minor thing, but it astonished me - my partner went to the shops, with a shopping list of essentials, (written by me). He came back with just 4 items (mainly snacks) saying that he had decided to go to a different shop. When I said 'so that's your shopping for the week then', he had no idea that the guidelines said you should only go shopping once a week.

I don't understand how he could watch the news every night and not picked up on that!

Mother of two young children
April 22, 2020

My partner and I have busy jobs and two young primary-age children. My employer hasn't mentioned furlough as an option for me and I am struggling to cope with two children who don't understand what is going on and my workload. My employer is offering flexibility, but there just aren't enough hours in the day for both me and my partner to do all the work we have to do and make sure that our wee people are taken care of. I'm worried about my mental health, but mostly about my children. My partner earns a lot more than me and I'm seriously considering resigning.

Click here to
join Engender

Mailing list

To join our email list, simply enter your email address below.

Latest tweets

Follow @EngenderScot

Loading