The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing gender inequalities as public health guidelines and lockdown measures lead to higher rates of gender-based violence and less access to sexual and reproductive information and health services including gender-affirming care. School and daycare closures and restrictions have substantially added to the unpaid care work disproportionately carried out by women. In a few short months, we have gone back to 1980s levels of women’s labour force participation, with fears the situation will become ever more dire as the pandemic wears on.
Not all women, girls, and gender diverse people are experiencing the pandemic in the same way. Women, girls, and gender diverse people who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour; people with disabilities, LBTI folks, sex workers, refugees and migrants, and people living in poverty already faced heighted risks of violence, discrimination, and other human rights violations, and the pandemic has further heightened these risks.
We’ve already gone in a gender equality time machine back to the 1980s in just a few short months – let’s not keep sliding backwards at breakneck speed to the 1950s! It’s time to push back, because a pandemic is no excuse to violate gender rights!
The pandemic is forcing parents—disproportionately mothers—to take on more unpaid care work. Women are losing their jobs and leaving work more than men, often to focus on unpaid care work, placing women at greater risk of living in poverty, which then heightens the risk of experiencing other rights violations. Marginalized women have been unable to access quality, affordable, inclusive childcare for a long time. The pandemic has simply laid bare the problems that already existed in how childcare operates in Canada.
Gender discrimination is at the root of why women are disproportionately impacted by a lack childcare in Canada, and advocating for a national childcare plan for Canada is absolutely a women’s rights issue. Advocating for a pandemic recovery plan rooted in gender justice means advocating for quality, affordable, available, and inclusive childcare for children aged 0-12!
- LEARN more from Child Care Now
- ENDORSE the Child Care Now’s childcare strategy for recovery
- WRITE a letter to the federal government
- TAKE TO SOCIAL MEDIA to put even more pressure on government! Re-tweet our posts or compose your own!
#COVID19 = increased unpaid care work for women. A critical part of the solution? #ReconstructChildCare in #Canada with affordable, accessible, inclusive, high quality childcare for kids age 0-12 – Learn more & #actnow on this critical #womensrights issue pic.twitter.com/txlgEA3pZN
The pattern of rights violations being experienced by women and LGBTQ2S people in Canada and around the world in the context of the pandemic, and the responses to these violations, are evolving quickly. Stay tuned to this page for updated information and actions throughout the Fall.