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‘Domestic violence is the shadow pandemic’ Jacinda Ardern Monday, 08 March 2021

‘Go hard and go early’

In New Zealand, life has almost returned to normal for its five million citizens. Bars, restaurants, sports and concert venues are open and the prime minister hopes to vaccinate the entire population before border controls are relaxed.

The economy has fared better than elsewhere, demonstrating that rather than a careful trade-off between economic and health measures, effective management of the virus has been a pre-requisite for a thriving economy. Ardern’s leadership has been widely praised for her leadership and her ‘Go hard and go early’ message that has meant very low infection levels and fewer than 30 deaths.

Addressing the European Parliament, Ardern said: “In New Zealand, our approach in battling COVID-19 has been one of inclusivity the idea that everyone needs to do their bit to protect one another, especially our most vulnerable. I often talk about our population is a team of 5 million. As we move to a phase of vaccination, we are not a team of 5 million, but we are a team of 7.8 billion. The success of individual countries or regions means little unless we are all successful.”

Ardern also pointed out how women have borne the brunt of this crisis: “Women are at the forefront of fighting the COVID crisis. They are amongst the doctors, nurses, scientists, communicators, caregivers and frontline workers who face the devastation and challenges of this virus every day. Along with being directly affected by the virus itself and its immediate impacts on our livelihoods. We’re also the subjects of intensified domestic violence. This is being reported as the shadow pandemic in all corners of the world.”

The parliament argues that women have been at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, partly because of their predominant role in the healthcare sector. Many have also been hard hit as they are in insecure or precarious jobs, which have disappeared or changed with the crisis. In addition, the continuing lock-downs have led to an increase in domestic violence. Parliament has called for these inequalities to be addressed.

Women on the COVID-19 frontline

Of the 49 million care workers in the EU, who have been most exposed to the virus, around 76% are women.

Women are over-represented in essential services ranging from sales to childcare places, which remained open during the pandemic. In the EU, women account for 82% of all cashiers and represent 95% of workers in domestic cleaning and home help fields.

Lower levels of job security for women

Around 84% of the working women aged 15-64 are employed in services, including in the main Covid-hit sectors that are facing job losses. Quarantine has also affected sectors of the economy where traditionally more women have been employed, including nursery, secretarial and domestic work.

More than 30% of women in the EU work part-time and occupy a large share of jobs in the informal economy, which tend to have fewer labour rights as well as less health protection and other fundamental benefits. They are also much more likely to take time off to care for children and relatives and during lockdowns often had to combine teleworking and child care.

Escalation of violence against women

Around 50 women lose their lives to domestic violence every week in the EU and this has increased during lockdown. The restrictions have also made it harder for victims to get help.

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Ciencia y Salud

"Diario ilustrado". Una publicación electrónica independiente que apoya puntos de vista liberales, progresistas, Pro-europeos y Pro-empresariales. La publicación fue creada por un grupo de periodistas independientes en oposición a la línea mediática de Rupert Murdoch y publicaciones conservadoras y de derecha. Publicado en español