The pandemic took work away from more than 54 million women in the world during 2020, and especially affected the manufacturing and service sectors, according to information from the International Labor Organization.
In this regard, the social anthropologist Liliana Ibeth Castañeda Rentería, from the University of Guadalajara, highlighted while participating in the discussion "COVID-19, telework and care: experiences and challenges for female autonomy" that the health emergency forced a large part of the population to transfer their public life to private space, where education, work, and care activities converge in one place, and in which women are the ones who assumed most of the extra work.
It is worth mentioning that based on data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), during confinement in Mexico, six out of every 10 women have been in charge of domestic and care work, while in men the proportion is four out of every 10. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, 74 percent of women assumed the support of their children's distance education, compared to 4.8 percent of men. Women were kept in the loop in school WhatsApp groups.
And she specified, "No one asked if the women needed any kind of help that would allow them to carry their mental health, physical, economic and even their autonomy." From the beginning of the confinement, the "stay-at-home" policy meant that they had to remain locked up with their rapists, alone and without support networks, to which was added the idea that they had to assume the role of housewives and take care of their families, said the academic. It is necessary to make visible what is happening to create decent working conditions; beyond gender, it is a human rights issue where the activities of all are recognized.
During the event, it was highlighted that those who were able to continue with their jobs had to adapt to teleworking, which despite the precarious conditions, became a privilege.
For Isalia Nava Bolaños, moderator of the discussion and researcher at the Institute of Economic Research of the UNAM, "an important group lost their jobs, another group may have had to change to more precarious jobs and here, unfortunately, women are always in worse situations".
Effects on mental health and emotions
The world's population was affected by the uncertainty and fear generated by COVID-19; according to information from the Inter-American Development Bank 2020, their mental and emotional health was more affected by chronic exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
According to Sandra Lorenzano, from UNAM's Directorate of Culture and Communication for Equality-CIGU, it is necessary to reduce the gender gap and reflect on these issues, to create community, institutional, and public policy strategies that put the issue of caregiving as a priority.
Despite years of struggle to eradicate gender inequalities, the pandemic is causing a setback in women's rights and in the spaces where they develop. For this reason, it is vital to debate and analyzes how it will have an impact in the medium and long term, she said.