Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

Let’s begin with some stark statistics. 49.55% of the global population is female. Yet, the global participation rate of women in national parliaments is 24%. Fewer than 10% of countries are led by women. 

 

The good news? Many of these women leaders are fast becoming household names (for the right reasons) due to their calm and creative handling of politics, including during the coronavirus crisis. 

 

A recent Forbes article discussed the common denominator in countries with the best coronavirus response: women leaders. It highlighted how the approaches of Angela Merkel in Germany, Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan, Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, Katrín Jakobsdóttir in Iceland, Sanna Marin (the world’s youngest Head of State) in Finland, Mette Frederiksen in Denmark, and Erna Solberg in Norway are “gifting us an attractive alternative way of wielding power”

 

Ardern in particular has been praised for her leadership style as well as for her proactive action in moving swiftly to lockdown her country (when there were only six cases) and making all those entering the country observe a strict quarantine regime. As a result of this decisive ‘elimination strategy’, New Zealand has had an extremely low number of deaths. Ardern’s proactive strategy is very different from  the more reactive decision-making strategies many other countries are following. 

 

While time will ultimately decide which countries emerge on top of the coronavirus league tables, the signs are positive that countries with women at the helm will have some of the best outcomes. 

 

Women are often said to bring different leadership qualities to the table, and the Forbes article highlights the leadership lessons these women have been teaching us: truth, decisiveness, positive use of technology and social media, care, compassion – even ‘love’, demonstrating how these characteristics have been revealed through their words and actions. 

 

These approaches can be contrasted with those displayed by some male leaders who have been stealing the Covid-spotlight recently: Donald Trump in the U.S., Boris Johnson in the U.K., Jair Bolsanaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Vladamir Putin in Russia. These leaders have been using the Covid-19 crisis as a power grab opportunity, and have gambled with the health of their citizens in the process. 

 

Times of crisis can act as a focus for what is truly important, on a political as well as an individual level. Covid-19 has exposed the deep-rooted structural issues underpinning our social, political and economic systems. It has helped shine a light on many ‘silent pandemics’ which have been lurking below the surface: the public health emergency, the domestic violence epidemic, and poverty crises even in seemingly ‘rich’ countries. It has shown how we are emphatically not ‘all in this together’, with inequities of gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality (among others) greatly contributing to vulnerability to, and experiences of, the outbreak.

 

Many different types of leadership are  being modelled for us right now. This is a globally significant time to take stock and (re)evaluate – what kind of politics do we want to have post-this? 

 

Leila Billing’s recent article, ‘What does Feminist Leadership look like in a Pandemic’, explores what feminist leadership can offer us: an intersectional focus (a recognition that ‘we’re only as safe – or empowered – as the most vulnerable among us’), which also aims to make the invisible (the silent pandemics, the power asymmetries, the inequities) visible. Billing emphasises the need to imagine alternative visions for our society, and to create cultures based upon mutual care. 

 

Many countries have already begun implementing feminist foreign and domestic policies – this is something that deserves renewed attention as we rebuild post-Covid-19. The National Women’s Council of Ireland, for instance, has just published a Feminist Future Programme For Government document, calling on the next government to significantly invest in public services (including comprehensive public childcare) and infrastructure – an effort which deserves our support. This is not to say that all existing ‘feminist’ policies are perfect – far from it (many display inconsistencies) – however, they are a crucial starting point in imagining a more inclusive future for all. 

 

The unique experience of women at this time can help to inform gender-proof Covid-19 solutions, and inspire a vision for a post-coronavirus society. It is essential that we celebrate the achievements of female leaders in their handling of this crisis, ensuring that care, compassion and creativity become the cornerstone of politics in the future. 

 

 

 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

49.55% of the global population is female. Yet, fewer than 10% of countries are led by women. The good news? Many of these women leaders are fast becoming household names (for the right reasons) due to their calm and creative handling of politics, including during the coronavirus crisis.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

One of the side effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the impact on victims of domestic violence. Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the situation in Ireland and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the globe have tried to control the spread of the virus by enforcing measures to restrict people’s movements, commonly referred to as ‘lockdown’. Those who suffer doubly due to these restrictions include those who are not safe even in their own home.

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

On February 15th and 16th, the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality gathered for their first meeting. As the event is on a temporary pause due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we thought it would be the perfect time to recap on its work so far.

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality. Now we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

Covid-19  has been labelled as the worst worldwide crisis since World War 2. One of the side effects of a lockdown response is the impact on victims of domestic violence.

 

Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the situation in Ireland and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home. 

 

This global pandemic is a time of immense concern for people, particularly women and children who are living with domestic and sexual violence in their homes. An Garda Siochána are anticipating a steady rise in reported incidents, while Women’s Aid Ireland have received increased calls to the service. The charity has heard first-hand of victims’ heightened anxiety and trauma response in the face of this emergency and the safety challenges it may bring. 

 

Aside from essential workers, people are self-isolating and working from home. Women* are therefore at a greater risk of violence, abuse and coercive control from an abusive partner. Work is no longer a form of escape from the domestic sphere, and access to safe spaces and supportive organisations have been drastically reduced. Though services have adapted to the best of their abilities, resources are scarce. Under social distancing guidelines, many at-risk women are lacking physical and social support and may not even have control over their internet access (abusers often use digital tools to harass, monitor and control). Distance away from one’s abuser, which is required to make contact online whilst in a suffocating and isolated space, is now, at times, inaccessible. Women’s Aid CEO Sarah Benson has stated “it can be harder for women at risk of violence to actually make a call seeking help, for fear of being overheard” by their tormentor. 

 

Pre-virus, reported incidents of sexual violence had increased by 55% in the past four years. Inside the domestic sphere, there is potential for the frequency to rise. Now, abusers are using tactics of potential contamination as a weapon against their partners, preying on anxieties if they are immunosuppressed, as well as furthering controlling behaviours. There is devastating irony in the fact that, by protecting the most vulnerable in society from one harm, we have created a higher risk of another harm for a different  group. 

 

SafeIreland has all of the up-to-date information on the status of services around the country. The Garda National Protective Services Bureau and Divisional Protective Service Units have implemented ‘Operation Faoisimh’, which translates to comfort or respite as Gaeilge. The resource will see Gardaí proactively make phone contact with previous victims of domestic abuse over the coming days, to ascertain any existing issues of concern and ensure the protection of families. They have promised to respond quickly and robustly to reports of cases of domestic violence, aiming to take this opportunity to reassure victims that domestic abuse incidents, including coercive control, will receive the highest priority response.

 

Other countries have seen interventions like a code-word that women can use in pharmacies (Mask-19 in Spain for instance) to alert the pharmacist to the fact that they are suffering domestic abuse in order that the pharmacist can call the authorities. This is an approach which could also work in Ireland, particularly in urban areas, where victims might feel less exposed due to greater anonymity. Women’s Aid UK has published a guide to the Silent Solution protocol, which allows victims to communicate through certain keys on the phone rather than through speech, a procedure which would be welcome in the Republic.

 

Not all homes are safe, and for thousands of women and children, it is the most dangerous place to be. Charities and services are accepting much-needed donations, and it is imperative friends and family of those in threatening situations keep in touch with those known or suspected to be at risk. We must be mindful of what others may be experiencing during this extremely difficult time, and reach out to those who need support. 

 

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24/7 helpline - 1800 77 88 88

Women’s Aid 24/7 helpline – 1800 341 900

Women’s Aid instant chat service on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 7pm – 10pm

An Garda Síochána 999 / 112

 

We know that men can be victims of domestic violence too and that men have the same right as women to be safe in their own homes. While this article focuses on women’s experiences as women are more likely to suffer this kind of abuse, we want to highlight that there are also supports for men who are suffering during this time, such as COSC

 

 

 

Photo by spukkato on freepik

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

 

Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

49.55% of the global population is female. Yet, fewer than 10% of countries are led by women. The good news? Many of these women leaders are fast becoming household names (for the right reasons) due to their calm and creative handling of politics, including during the coronavirus crisis.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

One of the side effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the impact on victims of domestic violence. Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the situation in Ireland and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the globe have tried to control the spread of the virus by enforcing measures to restrict people’s movements, commonly referred to as ‘lockdown’. Those who suffer doubly due to these restrictions include those who are not safe even in their own home.

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

On February 15th and 16th, the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality gathered for their first meeting. As the event is on a temporary pause due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we thought it would be the perfect time to recap on its work so far.

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality. Now we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the globe have tried to control the spread of the virus by enforcing measures to restrict people’s movements, commonly referred to as ‘lockdown’. These measures produce adverse effects for many of us, but ultimately they are intended to keep us safe and healthy. Those who suffer doubly due to these restrictions include those who are not safe even in their own home. 

 

Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the global situation, and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home. 

 

In China, where the novel coronavirus first appeared late last year, domestic violence reports have doubled since cities went into lockdown according to Wan Fei, founder of an anti-violence nonprofit in Hubei. The hashtag #AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic has been trending on the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo. 

 

This surge in domestic violence reports has been mirrored in other countries which are now implementing lockdown. In France, Secretary of State for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa reported a sharp increase in domestic violence reports since lockdown began two weeks ago. Across the country, reports rose by 32% in just one week, while in Paris they rose by 36%. France has now introduced an initiative to encourage women to raise alarm at their local pharmacies, following a similar move in Spain where women were told to ask for a ‘Mask-19’, a code word which alerts the pharmacist to contact the authorities. France has also said it will pay for hotel rooms to enable victims to escape and open pop up counselling centres. 

 

Paradoxically, in Italy where one in three women are victims of domestic violence, a drop in calls to support services has occurred. One such service, Casa delle Donne in Bologna, has attributed this to the increased control that abusers are able to exercise over their victims now that they are confined to the home, leading some women to choose to suffer in silence rather than risk seeking help.

 

This is corroborated by the fact that across Europe, instant messages to aid organisations have increased, which may suggest that abusers are limiting victims’ phone access. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić has expressed concern regarding these reports, saying that their financial independence could also be impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, which would further hinder their ability to leave an abusive household. 

 

The UK has also seen an increase in domestic violence reports. The Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, Beverley Hughes, said authorities were preparing to deal with an increase in incidents after reports of abuse linked to the lockdown. “The potential for tension to arise in the home as a result of what we are asking people to cope with, in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase and therefore we would be right to think this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents we are called to,” Hughes said. 

 

Avon and Somerset police reported a 20.9% increase in domestic abuse incidents in the last two weeks, from 718 to 868. Cumbria police have asked postal workers and delivery drivers to be on the lookout for signs of abuse. DCI Dan St Quintin of Cumbria police recommended the Bright Sky app, which offers information and support to victims and can easily be disguised by those who are worried about their partners monitoring their phone activity. As well as this, Women’s Aid (UK) have published a guide to the Silent Solution system. This allows victims who call 999 but are afraid of their partner overhearing to communicate without having to speak by pressing certain keys. 

 

A similar approach has been taken in Argentina, where the Minister for Women, Gender and Diversity announced that the department would open up lines of communication through WhatsApp and email for those victims who were unable to report their case by telephone. This announcement came after a 30% increase in calls to the department’s helpline since lockdown began. 

 

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced more than £1.5 million in funding for Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland. “There is, as I think everybody understands, a real risk that women and children who are already subject to domestic abuse will feel even more isolated and vulnerable during this crisis,” said Sturgeon, “Help is available now and you should not hesitate to come forward and get it.” 

 

One other way to offer help to victims has been seen in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, an area with one of the worst track records in the country regarding gender-based violence. Police there have implemented a helpline specifically to deal with the surge in reports. A spike in helpline calls has also been noted in Malaysia, where one particular helpline recorded a 50% increase in calls since mid-March when lockdown began. 

 

The US has not been left unscathed by this surge in reports either. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 10 million people per year are abused by their partner in the US, and every day 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines. According to Ruth Glenn, president and CEO of NCADV, abusive situations can be made worse by the current crisis. “In this particular time, with COVID-19, home can be pretty intense for domestic violence victims and survivors, due to the abusers’ ability to further control,” says Glenn. She also says that the amount of misinformation being circulated about the pandemic could be used by abusers to place further restrictions on victims. 

 

In New York, one of the states hardest hit by the virus, the impact that lockdown is having on victims is evident. While shelters in New York remain open, many domestic violence support providers are no longer seeing clients in person and are moving their services over the digital platforms which, while still helpful, may cause problems for those victims who are denied access to their phone or computer. 

 

The shift of the Family Courts over to digital platforms and coupled with the dramatic reduction in staff also presents grave impacts for those suffering from domestic abuse. Just three judges are handling all five boroughs via Skype hearings, down from the usual four-to-five judges plus magistrates in each borough courthouse. According to the New York Post, this has resulted in a dramatic decline in approved Family Court hearing requests (just 12 on Thursday 26 March compared to 85 on a typical day). This could represent an imminent threat to the wellbeing of those who are living in an abusive household. 

 

Dorchen Leidholdt, director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at the non- profit Sanctuary for Families, notes that unemployment is one of the most significant risk factors with regards to domestic abuse. A record 3.3 million American filed for unemployment claims last week. 

 

With the Coronavirus yet to have a significant impact on the African continent, there is concern for women in developing countries who already experience income and other inequalities, and who will be at heightened risk of domestic abuse during this pandemic. 

 

It is clear that many women globally are facing a domestic abuse pandemic on top of the coronavirus pandemic. There are encouraging signs that many countries are taking this issue seriously, and there are organisations out there offering advice and support to those who may be suffering due to domestic violence. However, right now we are all depending on each other to keep everyone healthy, and we must extend this sentiment to women who may be unsafe even in their own homes. We must be mindful of what others may be experiencing during this extremely difficult time, and reach out to those who need support. 

 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can reach out to Women’s Aid on their 24 hr helpline: 1800 341 900, or Aoibhneas on their 24 hr helpline 046 902 3718

 

 

Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

 

Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

49.55% of the global population is female. Yet, fewer than 10% of countries are led by women. The good news? Many of these women leaders are fast becoming household names (for the right reasons) due to their calm and creative handling of politics, including during the coronavirus crisis.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

One of the side effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the impact on victims of domestic violence. Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the situation in Ireland and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the globe have tried to control the spread of the virus by enforcing measures to restrict people’s movements, commonly referred to as ‘lockdown’. Those who suffer doubly due to these restrictions include those who are not safe even in their own home.

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

On February 15th and 16th, the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality gathered for their first meeting. As the event is on a temporary pause due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we thought it would be the perfect time to recap on its work so far.

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality. Now we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

With the Citizens’ Assembly on gender equality on a temporary pause due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we thought it would be the perfect time to recap on its work so far. 

 

The Citizens’ Assembly was established last July to bring forward proposals to the government to advance gender equality in Ireland. It is a body made up of the Chairperson, Dr Catherine Day, and 99 randomly selected citizens. These citizens are chosen by Red C Research & Marketing Ltd to be representative of the Irish public on the basis of age, gender, class and residence. On February 15th and 16th, the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality gathered for their first meeting which involved a series of public presentations, private roundtable discussions, and feedback sessions. They examined the main issues around gender, gender norms and stereotypes and the family, hearing presentations from experts on these issues. 

 

Fellow Emeritus Professor Sheila Greene presented on ‘gender norms and stereotypes’ and defined norms and standards as “the behaviours expected from males and females, which vary cross-culturally and historically.” Sex role stereotypes, she said, are “beliefs held about male and female natures and capacities.” “Stereotypes can often operate unconsciously,” she said. “Typically, if you ask parents if they would treat their boys and girls any differently, they often (say) “oh no, no” but in actuality they find themselves doing so.”

 

One of the main areas impacted by gender norms and stereotypes are career paths and choices, with some roles and responsibilities still overwhelmingly associated with women. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), over six in ten  (118,151) carers in Ireland are women. Dr. Anne-Marie McGauran, another of the expert presenters, discussed how just one per cent of childcare workers and only seven per cent of general nurses are men. According to McGauran, this is because social norms and attitudes lead to  men not being attracted to these non-traditional sectors (and often men who do take on these careers face prejudice and stereotypes). 

 

As well as being problematic from a gender-stereotyping point of view (i.e. only associating women, and not men, with caring and nurturing roles), this has wider repercussions for women’s pay and women’s independence. McGauran said that Ireland’s care system often relies on very low paid formal care, “it’s one of the sectors where pay is particularly low.” 

 

And women bear the burden of unpaid or low-paid family care too. “We really are very dependent … on unpaid care in the home, which is mostly carried out by women,” said McGauran.”Quite a lot of older men do this care as well where their wife becomes ill, but [this area] is mostly reliant on women’s care…”

 

Currently, the Constitution doesn’t recognise unpaid care in the home or Ireland’s responsibility to support  family carers. The closest thing to such a provision is Article 41.2 of the Constitution, which states that the place of a woman is at home:

“The State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obligated by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

This clause is extremely controversial for obvious reasons, and was one of the main talking points for the Assembly, following a presentation by Professor Siobhán Mullally on ‘the family in the Constitution and the law’. 

 

The ‘woman in the home’ clause was already discussed by the Constitutional Convention in 2015. Back then, 98% of the Convention thought this clause should be replaced with a gender-neutral clause to include other carers in the home. A majority also thought the clause should extend to carers outside the home, and that carers should not have to work outside the home out of economic necessity. 

 

The Citizens’ Assembly endorsed the findings of the Convention that the clause should be deleted and/or replaced. But there was a lot of debate about how this change should be implemented, particularly with regard to how much financial support the State should provide to carers. These discussions will resume when the Citizens’ Assembly meets again. 

 

The observations made by the Citizens’ Assembly on gender stereotypes and norms are now particularly relevant in light of the coronavirus pandemic, because most carers and front-line healthcare workers are women. As per government guidelines, carers and family carers are one of the only groups exempt from the requirement to stay at home as they are providing an essential service. This is a difficult time for carers for both financial and safety reasons. For instance, Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) has said some carers are applying for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 a week if their client self-isolates. This is because carers are only paid for two days if a client self-isolates of their own accord or upon the advice of public health authorities. 

 

Childcare is also a significant issue at this time. The CSO shows us that most single parents are women, with 143,100 women compared to 24,000 men. Even where both parents are present, women are far more likely to face the burden of looking after children at home, according to a recent Guardian article. The article references a recent Gallup poll which found that women were more than seven times as likely to care for their children on a daily basis as men in heterosexual married or cohabitating couples. Similar disparities are also evident in an Irish context

 

The Covid-19 pandemic is throwing many pre-existing societal issues into sharp relief, including the roles of men and women in society, and the domestic burden and care burden women still face. While many men are stepping up and sharing parental and other care duties at this time, it is evident that the discussions of the Citizens’ Assembly about gender norms and stereotypes are crucial as we are still a long way from attaining full gender equality. We hope that when the Citizens’ Assembly resumes, the gender issues unveiled by Covid-19 will be firmly on the Agenda. 

 

 

Photo from Citizens’ Assembly on Youtube

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

 

Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

49.55% of the global population is female. Yet, fewer than 10% of countries are led by women. The good news? Many of these women leaders are fast becoming household names (for the right reasons) due to their calm and creative handling of politics, including during the coronavirus crisis.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

One of the side effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the impact on victims of domestic violence. Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the situation in Ireland and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the globe have tried to control the spread of the virus by enforcing measures to restrict people’s movements, commonly referred to as ‘lockdown’. Those who suffer doubly due to these restrictions include those who are not safe even in their own home.

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

On February 15th and 16th, the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality gathered for their first meeting. As the event is on a temporary pause due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we thought it would be the perfect time to recap on its work so far.

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality. Now we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality.  

 

Now, although it is early days, we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland. While initial data indicates that women are less susceptible to the virus than men, there are several key reasons why women are impacted more by this coronavirus. 

 

Firstly, front-line health professionals and workers are more likely to be women, which means women are more likely to be exposed to this virus (with all of the related impacts on their health, wealth and wellbeing). Globally, around 70% of the global health workforce are women. 

 

Secondly, women are more likely to be casual or part-time workers without sick leave or other work entitlements putting them at a higher risk of wage loss or unemployment.  This is especially the case for low income or migrant women who tend to be employed in hospitality, retail or other service industries. Women’s wages also take longer to recover than men’s after crises – as evidenced during the Ebola crisis. 

 

Thirdly, the coronavirus is being called a ‘disaster for feminism’ by The Atlantic – because as children are sent home, decisions will have to be made regarding who will mind them. This will likely mean a considerable increase in the volume of unpaid work carried out by women. Women are also likely to be responsible for looking after COVID-19 patients at home. It is feared that women’s work and incomes will suffer more than men’s during this period ‘making women’s independence a silent victim of the pandemic’. Globally, girl’s schooling will also be disproportionately impacted by school closures (including in non-obvious ways, e.g. moves to teleschooling due to the digital divide issues many women face).  

 

Fourthly, domestic and sexual violence rise during crises like these – termed the ‘silent epidemic’. Not all homes are safe, and so women are at heightened risk of controlling behaviour, verbal abuse and violence during times of quarantine and lockdown. Rights groups in Ireland have been working to draw attention to these issues

 

Fifthly, women face challenges in accessing the services they need, including sexual and reproductive services and services for maternal care. During the Ebola crisis, more women died of obstetric complications than the disease, but these secondary deaths attract less attention

 

I could continue because there are so many ways in which women are impacted differently to men – but I will stop there. However, it must be emphasised that already-disadvantaged women, including migrant women, homeless women, and women in direct provision, face double layers of discrimination and have more limited access to healthcare and protective items than the general population. During this time of collective stress and uncertainty, we can perhaps experience greater solidarity with these women whose daily experience already involves a high degree of stress from their living conditions and uncertainty about their futures. 

 

In Ireland, groups like the NWCI and Women’s Aid are doing Trojan work to remind women they are not alone during this time and making sure key supports for women are continued. Recent confirmations from the Irish government that it is safe for migrants (documented and undocumented) to access essential services are also essential. However, more needs to be done by our government to ensure the most vulnerable are protected during this crisis.

 

The increased burden faced by women during COVID19 highlights the ways in which women are disadvantaged within our society – still saddled with the brunt of unpaid care work and domestic work, at heightened risk of domestic violence and abuse, and faced with gender gaps at work and at home. 

 

While one might expect the unique experiences of women at times like these to mean they will be included in decision-making around the crisis, and in gender-proofing our decision-making, this is unfortunately not the case; in fact, gender issues are being largely ignored. And, valuable opportunities are being missed to gather data or conduct research on the gendered-impact of the coronavirus which could help us better prepare for future epidemics. 

 

As we face into the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis, it is important that we do not treat gender as a side issue – there is too much at stake. Rather, we might see this as a crucial opportunity for leadership based on principles of intersectionality and mutual care. 

 

More to come from STAND on how the coronavirus impacts women over the next few weeks and months – stay tuned. 

 

 

Photo by Tumisu from Pixabay

 

 

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Why We Need Feminist Leadership in a Pandemic (And Beyond)

49.55% of the global population is female. Yet, fewer than 10% of countries are led by women. The good news? Many of these women leaders are fast becoming household names (for the right reasons) due to their calm and creative handling of politics, including during the coronavirus crisis.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women in Ireland Suffering From Domestic Violence

One of the side effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the impact on victims of domestic violence. Both here in Ireland and abroad, spikes in domestic violence incidents have been reported. This article examines the situation in Ireland and forms part of a two-part series where we cover how this issue has presented itself around the globe, as well as at home.

The Danger of Quarantine: Women Around the World Suffering From Domestic Violence

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, countries across the globe have tried to control the spread of the virus by enforcing measures to restrict people’s movements, commonly referred to as ‘lockdown’. Those who suffer doubly due to these restrictions include those who are not safe even in their own home.

Why Gender Equality Matters – Reflections on the Citizens’ Assembly

On February 15th and 16th, the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality gathered for their first meeting. As the event is on a temporary pause due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we thought it would be the perfect time to recap on its work so far.

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality. Now we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference! As the adage goes, you can’t be what you can’t see. 

 

Emojis have faced much criticism in the past for a lack of diversity, which led to the introduction of emojis with different skin tones and genders, as well as same-sex and interracial couples, and emojis depicting persons with disabilities. In 2019, a period ‘blood droplet’ emoji became available following a campaign to combat period stigma.

 

Today, we are able to choose from over 3,000 emojis in Unicode Standard. It may seem as though there is already an emoji for everything: facial expressions, nature, food, sports, everyday objects, and other symbols. But the 2020 release of 117 new emojis is evidence that there is always room for more diversity and more creativity.

 

One very exciting aspect of this new release is the inclusion of a gender-neutral version of several emojis. New emojis include a woman feeding a baby, a man feeding a baby, and a person feeding a baby – representing various gender identities and expressions (a previous emoji release added a breastfeeding emoji for women, but the only alternative was a lone baby bottle). Increased representation of gender identities seems to have been a key focus of the new release which also includes the transgender flag and transgender symbol, as well as gender variations in bridal veils and tuxedos. There is even a new gender-neutral Mx. Claus to add to existing Mr and Mrs Claus. 

 

There is a myth that technology is neutral but emojis show how it can subtly reinforce values that are baked into our culture. Happily, these new emojis are challenging the limited binary conception of gender that is prevalent today. The representation of diversity in skin tone and gender of the new emojis is an important step towards equality and visibility of often marginalized groups.  Other exciting additions to emoji 13.0 include blueberries, bubble tea, a bison, and a boomerang. If you want to check out all the new emojis before they become available on our devices, see this released list

 

 

 

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

 

 

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A Disability Inclusive Response to Covid-19

Covid-19 has thrown into the spotlight the inequalities which persist in today’s world. It has, in particular, highlighted the inequalities faced by persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are both directly and indirectly impacted by lockdown measures, which have been implemented across the globe.

As Corporations Shout ‘Black Lives Matter’, Their Track Records Raise Scepticism

While the importance of solidarity cannot be overstated, instances of self-serving, performative allyship with Black Lives Matter must also be recognised and addressed. Perhaps the biggest culprits of performative allyship have been corporations seeking to boost their public image.

‘Stop Filming Us’ – Questioning Neocolonialism through the Camera Lens

In Stop Filming Us (2020) Dutch filmmaker Joris Postema travels to the city of Goma in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where numerous conflicts and even more Western aid organizations have been in the past 25 years. The problem is, sometimes these Westerners would rather define Goma and its people on their terms. Can Postema portray the Congolese reality without becoming part of the problem?

STAND News talks to IWA about their work during COVID-19

STAND News talked to Joan from the Irish Wheelchair Association about how they're aiding the disabled community during COVID-19.See how you can help out here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsoJTx-r1n0

The 8th of April: International Traveller and Roma Day

World Roma and Traveller Day is an opportunity to recognise the work of activist’s past and present and appreciate the diversity which the community has brought to Ireland for centuries. However, this day also serves as a reminder of the extent to which Ireland has failed its’ indigenous ethnic minority and how far we have to come before equality can be achieved.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!