COVID-19: why women’s equality must be at the heart of our response
This blog from our Communications and Engagement Manager, Alys Mumford, sets out why we've released a paper on women and COVID-19, and why we must never stop talking about women's equality.
The world is a new and confusing place for many of us. A rollercoaster of changes to work, school and care schedules, getting to grips with online meetings and digital lessons, fear for our friends, families and neighbours.
It will come as no surprise to any woman reading this that when crises like the one we are facing right now hit, women are disproportionately affected. More likely to be in precarious and low-paid work, more likely to shoulder additional caring responsibilities, and more likely to be the one worrying about food shopping, dentist trips, and prescriptions.
Today Engender has released a paper exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on women, and setting out what must be done in order not to lose the gains we have made towards equality. Women’s equality advocates often find ourselves talking about the same structural and systemic issues again and again (it’s almost like we live in a society where men overwhelmingly hold the power, eh?) and so too with this briefing. And that’s because old problems don’t go away when new ones come along. But new problems, and hasty responses to them, can further entrench injustices and inequalities. It is therefore vital that we integrate gender into any responses to this latest crisis.
Social security, employment, social care, health, and violence against women, are all areas of women’s inequality which will see additional challenges due to coronavirus, and which must be taken into account in the responses of national and local government. Our report makes several recommendations for practical solutions to uphold women’s rights and work towards equality during this period of uncertainty, as well as calling for creativity in finding ways to change systems to enable women’s protection and wellbeing.
In the briefing you will also find reasons for (measured) optimism. While it can’t neutralise the grief and fear we are all feeling, there are opportunities for this crisis management to embed measures which make work, care, and community better for all. Employers realising that home working isn’t that hard, universities forced to look beyond a letter on a page during admissions, and huge investment in our health service. Just a few weeks ago, new migration rules divided people into ‘skilled’ and ‘unskilled’ workers. Now much is made, rightly so, of the crossover between ‘unskilled workers’ and those now designated as ‘key workers’, indicating a new awareness of the importance of women’s undervalued and unseen work.
This is a situation which is moving incredibly fast, with new science, guidelines and announcements appearing day by day. One thing is constant though; the need to include women’s equality at the heart of our response.
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Covid-19: Gathering and using data to ensure that the response integrates women’s equality and rights Covid-19 demands an emergency response.
Engender and Close the Gap Joint briefing on the impact of COVID-19 on women with childcare responsibilities in Scotland This briefing looks at the implications of the COVID-19 crisis on women with childcare responsibilities in Scotland specifically by analysing survey data gathered from 721 parents in Scotland.
Engender and Close the Gap Joint Briefing on the impact of COVID-19 on women's wellbeing, mental health and financial security This briefing looks at the impacts of COVID-19 on women’s wellbeing, mental health, and financial security in Scotland by analysing survey data gathered from 509 adults in Scotland and a booster sample of 401 Black and minority ethnic (BME) adults.
Engender and Close The Gap joint response to the Scottish Government’s Proposal to Set Missions for the Scottish National Investment Bank Close the Gap and Engender have been engaged in the development of the Scottish National Investment Bank for nearly three years.
Engender and Close the Gap response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report The differential impact of Covid-19 on women and men has been well-rehearsed.
Engender Parliamentary Briefing: Recognising the Importance of Family Caregivers This is an Engender briefing for MSPs ahead of the Scottish Parliament Opposition debate on Recognising the Importance of Family Caregivers on 30th September 2020.
Engender Parliamentary Briefing: An Implementation Plan for Economic Recovery This is an Engender briefing for MSPs ahead of the Scottish Government debate on an Implementation Plan for Economic Recovery on 11th Agust 2020.
Engender Parliamentary Briefing: Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill This is a briefing produced by Engender for MSPs debating the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill on 1st April 2020.
Engender submission of evidence to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee call for evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on equalities and human rights as part of its pre-budget scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Budget for 2021-22 This is a submission of evidence to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee call for evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on equalities and human rights as part of its pre-budget scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Budget for 2021-22 We welcome the focus of the Equality and Human Rights Committee this year on the social and economic recoveries from Covid-19 and ensuring that there is sufficient scrutiny of how revenue raising and spending relates to these outcomes within and outwith the Budget process.
Gender & Economic Recovery The economic downturn precipitated by Covid-19 is different from that caused by previous shocks.
Gender and Inclusive Growth: making inclusive growth work for women in Scotland Over recent years, Inclusive Growth is a term that has become more prominent in the policy, development and academic arenas as the uneven distribution of the benefits of growth becomes more and more apparent.
Gender Edit of Scotland's Programme for Government 2021-2022 This gender edit of A Fairer, Greener Scotland: Programme for Government 2021-22 compiles all references to women, gender and issues with implications for gender equality which appear in the document.
What Works for Women: improving gender mainstreaming in Scotland Gender mainstreaming is a strategic approach to tackling systemic gender inequality.
Women and COVID-19 The COVID-19 global pandemic represents an unprecedented situation and the responses and aftereffects will have long-term consequences for everybody in Scotland, notably for women and women’s equality.
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