THE PATRIARCHAL CITY
It’s no secret that gender plays a part in how we interact with our cities; influencing our sense of safety, our access to employment, our transit choices, and our daily interactions. The presence of COVID-19 has both heightened and magnified this issue to unimaginable extents.
This past March ‘The Atlantic’ published an article discussing how the pandemic has sent many couples ‘back to the 50’s’ in a sense. With the closure of many childcare support options that have enabled both parents to take on full-time employment, many couples have had to make decisions about who will take on the additional labor in their home. This often means a transition into breadwinner/homemaker relationships, as the wealthier partner receives more financial protection while the other may find themselves scrambling to keep their household intact.
The article goes on to explain how the structure of today’s labor market facilitates these gender norms of women acting as caregivers. According to the YWCA, in Canada, women are more likely to be essential workers, taking on front-line positions such as health care workers, social service providers, grocery workers etc. This often means part-time positions, few sick days, and lifetime earnings that may never recover in the event of a pandemic.
As well, 90% of single-parent households are headed by women, meaning that the burden of quarantine preparation, childcare, and financial strain, has fallen on the backs of many, with little support and a great deal of fear for the future.
“The Gendered Impacts of the Outbreak,” an article by Wenham, Smith, and Morgan, discussed how the Coronavirus pandemic will likely hit women in middle-low income countries the hardest. School closures across the globe impact a girl’s chances of getting a job and can put her at risk of early pregnancy and becoming a child bride.
Foreign domestic workers will also be affected. During the Ebola outbreak of 2013, 70% of small-scale traders in Liberia were women who depended on cross-border communication. With travel restrictions in place, the livelihoods of these women has the potential to be severely impacted.
We have also seen that many low-income countries in which reproductive health resources are sparse have experienced additional strain as a result of these resources being used primarily on emergency support. According to the Center for Global Development, Sierra Leone had 3600 additional maternal, neonatal, and stillbirth deaths in 2014 as a result of the Ebola outbreak.
The conversation surrounding these issues of female inequality has changed dramatically with the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important for us to continue to assess how we can help women globally who are suffering during this time, to try and understand the potential consequences of this virus on their future livelihoods and to brainstorm solutions that can help brace the impact of this mass disruption.
SYDNEY NARCISO WILSON
Lubna mentions her former professor Zahra Ebrahim founded a COVID-19 Toronto Resources app as a collaborative effort for those looking for assistance or community during these difficult times. Look here for rent relief help, food share access, COVID assessment centres, and anything else of the like.
Sydney talks about the Urban Girls Project.
Read Sydney's mention of bell hooks' essay titled Homeplace (a site of resistance).
Sydney talks about Jay Pitter and her quote along the lines of, "Look in the rooms you're in see who is there and who is not and why."
Lubna talks about Dr. Kalpana Wilson's paper on the the forced sterilization of women for capital gain.
Victoria says that 46% of Personal Support Workers are racialized women in nursing homes.
Lubna mentions that the statistics show that New York, let alone the Bronx, has the highest number of of COVID-19 cases and the highest number of racialized people affected at disproportionate rates, which has a direct correlation.
Sydney says that Sweden most gender equal world in the world according to the Gender Inequality Index (GII).
In Canada Indigenous women make up 50% of sex workers according to a report titled Trafficking of Indigenous Women and Girls written by the Native Women's Association of Canada, and published on the Parliament of Canada website,
My Friends House: Safe Haven for Abused Women and Children
‘Bad Feminist’ by Roxane Gay
‘This Will Be My Undoing’ by Morgan Jerkins
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie