Today is my 15th, day of self-isolation in the north of Europe. After a long dark, gray, gloomy autumn and odd winter, spring is finally here. We now have sunny and longer days with a strong desire to be outside enjoying it. But, unfortunately, that is not the scenario since we need to be indoors and take care of ourselves because of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, which is a worldwide pandemic.
During these months of the crisis, a lot of people are working to give us services that we need. Among these are health professionals, public workers, social workers and others. Thanks to their great work plus our self-awareness, we are coping with the crisis.
I would like to highlight in these lines the work and situation of 3 different groups of women that are living with this crisis:
Women at home (mother, wife, partner)
The hashtag #Stayhome had become very popular on social networks to raise awareness for people to stay indoors to reduce the spread of the virus. However, home is not a safe place for many women who experience gender violence at home.
According to the World Health Organization worldwide, nearly one in three women (30 per cent) have experienced physical or sexual violence committed by their intimate partners, and 7 per cent have been sexually assaulted by someone other than their partner.
Most of these gender violences occur at home; however, many countries lawfully recognize this violence as a crime and not as a domestic or private matter.
“During this COVID 19 crisis, domestic violence is on the rise. “Code grays” (situations where a hostile visitor and/or patient needing security intervention) and “code emergency department lockdown” (police escort hostile individual from hospital premises) are noted more regularly during this pandemic. Front line health care providers are here to provide a holistic approach of care”, said a friend who is an ER nurse working Upstate New York, United States of America.
The campaign against gender violence titled Mascarilla-19 (mask-19) is being implemented in Spain where women under gender violence can go to the pharmacy and say: I want a mask-19, in that case, the seller will know and call for help.
A lot of mothers are currently doing remote work, and so are their children studying, from home. So, for these moms, a time off for them to relax can be nullified or reduced.
Another factor for these women is space at home. It is recommended that everyone has their space to work, study, or chill out. But the reality can be another since home space is reduced for many families. My friends that are moms have commented that it is “not an easy road”.
For single women there are advantages of not dealing with spousal, partner, or children tension in these moments of crisis. But the challenge may rely that a single woman may fall into depression and a state of loneliness due to the fact of self-isolation for a long period of time. Therefore, it is crucial that a single person receive the necessary support by a simple phone call, text message or via social media.
Domestic workers and cleaners
Regardless of the danger, they face many needs to continue working for an income since in many cases they are single mothers, immigrant women, and are from an impoverished class.
In many countries, they are not protected by the labour law, they don’t have suitable equipment, don’t have basic cleaning supplies (especially for this crisis), get a lot of sexual harassments, and more.
In Spain for example, the Servicio Domestico Activo- SEDOAC (Active Domestic Service) along with other women organizations are campaigning to be aware to “take care of whom takes care of you”.
A friend of mine who works during her free time as a nurse (she is currently a student in Finland) told me that she had her first encounter with a patient who tested positive for coronavirus. She did her job and used all the precaution equipment. I think that is a brave action.
Even though it is a critical situation, for her, it is more positive to work out rather than sitting at home. However, after being with the patient, she manifested being worried and having post-panic thoughts.
A story like this is what thousands of nurses and doctors are living day by day worldwide to battle the virus.
All these women and others are heroines in all the countries affected by the virus. The question is how are they coping after their working shift and going home to their family, or being alone, Are they getting any advice, psychological help, support group etc.?
In many countries, citizens daily go to their balcony and applaud these brave women and men. I would say keep it up. But also health care providers need the government and health organizations to provide them with the necessary equipment’s to protect themselves better of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
When and how is this going to end? It Is uncertain. But it is clear that we are going to have a post-pandemic world crisis, there will be a severe impact on business, sports, culture, education, climate, and human being behaviour; for example, greeting with a kiss or shaking hands probably will be stopped. These bigger scenarios will have other implications in our society that probably we do not even imagine.
So, the next time you want to leave your house without any strong argument, please think about the thousands of women and men that daily are leaving their loved ones or using their time to serve us. They are human beings and, therefore, need our help.