From the gender pay gap to the household chores domination, there are all these differences and struggles on a daily basis. If not male domination, there are taboo issues. Concerns like talking about menstrual hygiene, female masturbation, or maybe topics like girl power. Did they all change now that there is a pandemic? Surely COVID-19 is of greater importance. In many aspects, the small things faced by women are forgotten. This is even more challenging because of newly amended rules, like social distancing and lockdown. The restrictions limit us even more than usual.
Everything starts at home
I am in India. It stands 9th in terms of death because of COVID-19. The state I am living in the second highest to have a total of people infected with COVID-19. Everything seemed manageable till now. But, recently, there have been changes. Finding the same old groceries, we used to prefer are nowhere available within a few kilometers radii. Even when we do adjust with something, the prices have gone up noticeably. I am sure complaining, merely observing the drastic changes which we are all facing. According to my knowledge, it is similar to many people everywhere.
A lot more has been happening in my life as a girl. The little independence I had and my small ways of bending traditional norms at my home are gone. This is the same case for everyone else too. But, there are times when I sit defeated of not being to find alternative ways to get what I want. Then, after long, when I came to accept things as they are. I am much more productive. More or less, I had to get along. It was possible for me within my own mind. But for many, we need to do it as a community. After all, we are all connected and dependent on each other in many aspects. One such aspect is moral support.
One-step at a time
- Fiji, an island country in the south pacific ocean, some communities are considered the most vulnerable communities. Women have accepted, “Food comes before Pads.” Forget having a choice to choose from; they were much costlier ones in the market.
- At the bank of a river named Coco near the Caribbean Sea, there is a community of women who focus on helping each other on their growth as an individual. Their main task is to increase awareness of food production. Food security and the local market system are two main issues faced by these women of the Kisalaya community.
- In India, sanitary pads are the most and only popular form of menstrual products. During the lockdown, as the government failed to add sanitary napkins in the list of necessary items at the start, the production paused for around ten days, which caused a lot of chaos with prices and availability in rural areas.
- Monica Grohne from Wyoming, United States, found a health solution for women suffering from PMS. Throughout the last year, her attempt to get financial assistance to start a business came through in 2020. Starting out during the pandemic, with people purchasing many immunity supplements beforehand, there was an issue with the supply chain.
- Women’s reproductive health is at stake during the pandemic, where fertility clinics are closed, and women compelled to cancel their appointments considering the spread of COVID-19. With anxiety and depression due to the panic, there are even more high chances of worsening of conditions for many.
- Countries led by women have ambitious goals to eradicate COVID-19 from their country. Prime Minister of New Zeland- Jacinda Ardern, Sanna Marin from Sweden, Angela Merkel from Germany, and president of Taiwan- Tsai Ing-wen are few of the many places led by women who are doing their best.
When closely looked at those issues, they have always existed for women all around the world in different circumstances. For women who could afford to buy sanitary napkins, there were people who had to compromise on other luxuries. For the survival of a community consisting of women in an under-developed area, it meant acceptance of their existence by authorities who are men.
Though sanitary pads were available in cheaper forms in India, they weren’t available for many villagers till they travel 40 km or more. PMS-related issues were something which many women suffer and had that impact on their career even before they knew it. Women’s reproductive health cannot be afforded by women from all backgrounds. Women who lead countries always had eyes on them, which made their goal usually doubled that usual.
The COVID-19 situation has led those situations to come up and stand on its own because it is getting tougher day by day. The importance of resolving issues related to women raised much higher than ever right now. When every community is satisfactorily able to survive on its own, they’d agree to co-operate with the pandemic situation. Taking precautions, maintaining distance, sanitizing, and traveling less is a top-most priority to reduce the chances of community spread. When women aren’t able to even get their basic necessities if their leadership is suppressed; when their issues caused by hormonal differences are ignored. At some point, later on, it becomes harder for us all to exist with so many constraints.
These mentioned incidents are the ones that have been fully resolved or in the process of being resolved. Another victory situation is when female officers of the Indian army can take equal positions as men. Their legal fight to attain the choice equal to men took two decades of the fight. Though the decision has nothing to do with the pandemic, it was finally time. Women with 20+ experience now get to take the exclusive programs which were once only taken by army men.
- Cyber incidents have increased to a large extent. With most of the people working from home and staying indoors during the holidays, people are downloading unverified apps. The dependency on socialization as a human being is troublesome.
- Regressing because of family systems. Unconditional love isn’t enough to hold it all together. Work from home has become a nuisance for a family with small kids, elderly people who need extra care, and other kinds of unpleasant surroundings.
- People have lost their jobs. Not everyone had jobs that could be done remotely. Getting back of track even when the lockdown has lifted, it is another burden.
There are many other things going on, which need attention, so as to find solutions immediately. There is potential to change a lot right now. Many are at home. The same people observe what’s going on. Showing any kind of inequality is unjust. We cannot just accept it. Now might be the best time to talk about different issues!