COVID-19 worsens gender equality

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photo courtesy of Science News

Anjali Ashok, Staff Writer

Ever since women have gained the right to vote, gender equality has made great progress over the years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused hindrances in the path to equal rights between men and women.

Due to the stay-at-home orders, domestic violence has intensified. Many victims are unable to access in-person services that could help them escape their abusive relationships. Harvard Medical School reports that the number of calls to domestic violence services has tripled during the quarantine. Women have made up a majority of their calls of help to escape their abusive partners. 

“I know women have had to undergo more domestic violence because they are trapped inside households where they are oppressed,” junior Yukta Ramanan said. “Although the world has received a level of progressiveness, it’s important to note that we still have a long way to go.”

The pandemic has also left millions throughout the nation unemployed. The unemployment rate for women has risen by 12.8% between February through April 2020, which is 2.9% higher than men, according to Econofact. The coronavirus has caused a disproportionately high rate of unemployment in jobs that tend to employ more women, like waitressing and tourism.

“It is extremely unfair that female unemployment is higher than male unemployment,” freshman Sky Lan said. “Both genders deserve the same rights.”

“If a greater number of individuals would adopt a more empathetic outlook toward others rather than a discriminating and unjust one, we would be in a much better place.” ”

— History Teacher, Antonette Bowman

Additionally, the Marketplace stated the coronavirus pandemic has caused women to be three times more likely than men to not work in order to take care of young children. With schools practicing remote learning, many people expect the responsibility of looking after young children to lie on women.

“COVID-19 has forced people to be at home and [societal] gender roles have come back,” freshman Navya Mandava said. “Many people assume that the woman or wife will cook and care for the kids while the man will work. This presumption is why we have to work even harder to counter the effects of the pandemic.”

Advocating for women’s rights is important because it prevents violence against women and girls and is essential for economic prosperity. Feminism is the path to take in order to achieve gender equality, and serves as the equalizer between men and women. Although women and men both undergo job losses and domestic abuse, women are historically impacted far more by a considerable degree.

“There is this radical notion of feminism going around and feminism doesn’t necessarily mean that the other genders are bad and need to be put down,” Ramanan said. “It just wants to level the playing field and make sure that everyone [is given]  the same opportunities.”

Although the pandemic has led to a setback on gender equality, current generations can overcome these obstacles by spreading their concerns and speaking up when witnessing discrimination.

“If a greater number of individuals would adopt a more empathetic outlook toward others rather than a discriminating and unjust one, we would be in a much better place,” history teacher Antonette Bowman said. “I would try and fix it by keeping things simple – treating others as we would like to be treated.”