The Shadow Pandemic
The current COVID19 pandemic is not the first disruptive disease that has caused massive death and social, political, economic, cultural and health upheavals prompting restrictive health and security responses from governments, communities, families and individuals. However, it is probably the first to cause an almost complete halt in human activities across the globe. The very interconnectedness of nation states as a result of global influences and interactions which were designed to keep the world and its people connected has provided the very same fertile ground for its spread and impact.
At the time of publication (May,2021) it is uncertain what the full impact of the global pandemic, COVID-19, will be across the globe. However, as it plays out many issues have already emerged which will have far reaching impact on the social, political, economic and cultural aspect of societies as well global relations on trade, travel, technology and tourism.
A pandemic magnifies all existing multiple and intersecting inequalities and structural injustices deeply ingrained in our systems and structures. This is particularly true for women and girls who on average have insecure employment and benefits, less savings, and or live closer to the poverty line than men. Women have been exposed as doing most of the COVID-19 unpaid care for children, elderly, the sick and disabled and household and domestic duties. In addition to providing the workforce capacity in more poorly paid jobs in healthcare, reproductive health, DV, mental health and substance abuse, they are also overrepresented in their clientele. This edition focuses on such issues and addresses these concerns.
There are many challenges facing the globe as a result of this pandemic and many changes are needed to cultivate new economic, social, political, and environmental systems and activities for a better future, especially for women and girls as articles in this edition identify the current struggle they face. Here is one such response from global feminist organisations and activists working on human rights, sustainable developments and economic and social justice who collectively call for a feminist response.
COVID-19 responses must:
- centre the well-being of all people in an intersectional manner.
- ensure the health and safety of all, including ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- promote a comprehensive paradigm shift, relying on adequate and equitable financing.
- be based on and strengthen democratic values.
- be a down payment on a just and equitable transition towards an equal and healthy planet.
- guided by cooperation, multilateralism and global justice feministcovidresponse.com.
The guest editors and I hope you enjoy this special edition covering Women and COVID-19.