The importance of women being on the frontlines of the Coronavirus fight

Women in the Frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic

The Coronavirus disease (covid-19) pandemic has caused disruptions to society and has upended the lives of many people as health systems buckles and school, borders and businesses close.

The Covid-19 is different because it is an invincible enemy and it is deadly which means that the task to protect ourselves from it is harder. We are advised to protect ourselves from it by washing our hands well and often, maintain social distance by avoiding crowded and public spaces and to self isolate if you suspect that you have any symptoms of it or contact medical services in order to curb the spread of the virus.

For now, the virus is spreading fast and the healthcare workers on whom we all depend on are predominantly women who are on the frontline in the war against the Coronavirus. Doctors, nurses and paramedics all over the world are facing an extraordinary task of saving lives in overstretched healthcare facilities.

They are working in very stressful and frightening conditions, they are fitting ventilators in hospitals even though they work in settings that are under-protected which makes them more vulnerable to the infection. Women are also educating vulnerable children at home and helping stock supermarket shelves.

Since the economic shutdown, only essential workers were allowed to continue and it is predominantly women who are left to do these important jobs. As the economy comes to a halt, women are the ones that dominate industries such as Healthcare, food retailing and education.

The new Coronavirus is little understood and because of that women are disproportionately represented on the frontline of the pandemic. Societies and communities around the world are heavily depending on women now more than ever to get through the covid-19 chaos.

According to the UN women make up 70 percent of health and social workers, putting them at greater risk. This does reflect how our workforce, particularly in these sectors are very much dependent on women and that without women they would not be able to operate. Women are stepping directly into the covid-19 fight and risking their own lives and the lives of their families to help prevent the spread of the virus so this means that we as a society we must do everything that we can to support women who are on the frontline of this pandemic.

It is time for governments to recognize the contribution that women make and to also focus on sectors where women are underpaid and over-represented such as small business owners, daily wages and in the informal economy. We need to give them the support that they need in order for them to be safe and stay alive. We recognize their efforts, their heroism, dedication and their selflessness which gives the rest of us hope that we will overcome this virus. 

South Africa