UN report says coronavirus further highlights major differences between men and women in jobs, pay and violence.
The profound social and economic shock caused by the coronavirus is making evident and aggravating as much as possible the difficulties women have in accessing decent jobs, wage parity and sexual violence and murders of women. The COVID-19 pandemic gives a better picture of the structural inequalities in society.
The crisis has hit women workers twice: they are the first to be fired from their formal jobs, and they have totally lost their informal income.
In the US, 55% of those dismissed by the end of May were women. It is logical: they have closed all the restaurants, schools, hairdressers, health services, and all tourism where the majority of the workers are women.
In addition, women who never had a formal job are now deprived of income, especially in developing countries - 70% of women's employment is in this sector - with no protection against dismissal, no sick leave and limited access to social protection. According to the UN, 740 million women work in the informal economy.
Most infected in health care work
The coronavirus has affected them twice over: in April, 75% of the health workers infected in certain countries such as Spain and Italy were women, according to the UN report.
Trade unions and women's organizations have denounced that personal protection suits are designed for men, so, beyond the uncomfortable, they often do not protect them in the same way.
More unwanted pregnancies
Because of isolation, millions of women are unable to access general medical care and contraception, leading to an increase in unwanted pregnancies, especially among adolescents, and an increase in untreated sexual diseases such as AIDS. The UN estimates that in Latin America an additional 18 million women will lose regular access to contraceptives.
Women earn less, save less, have less secure jobs, work more in the informal sector of the economy, with less access to social protection, are the majority of heads of single-parent households and carry the double burden of domestic work.
With the social isolation of quarantines, with contagion in vast sectors such as health workers and old people's homes, the closure of shops and the tourist industry, the pandemic is making the economic and social situation of women, who are the majority in these areas, even worse.
Reports of domestic violence are estimated to have risen by about 25%
Domestic violence has increased in all countries, where the isolation of quarantines leaves women at the mercy of their abusers. Reports of domestic violence are estimated to have risen by about 25% since social distancing began, according to the UN. The closure of small businesses where many women work also means they must stay home longer, where their partners also are unemployed and are subject to enormous distress over their declining incomes and living standards.
Confined to their aggressors, it is difficult for them to denounce the violence, which facilitates the femicides. In Argentina, 124 femicides were perpetrated from the beginning of 2020 until May 31, of which 61 occurred during the social isolation measures. Honduras, 45, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Mexico, from March 16 to April 14 there were 163 femicides, according to the organization Marea Verde.