Pros and Cons of Coronavirus Essay

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In the 21st century, Australian women have continued to fight and gain many fundamental rights in all aspects of life, however, it is not arguable that there is still a long way to go. Since the declaration of pandemic status, the Coronavirus has only intensified the disparity in Australian gender inequality and could threaten this issue in years to come. In 2006, the World Economic Forums Global Gender Gap Index reported that Australia was 15th in the world for gender equality, although in 2020 this number has increased to 44th on the same list (). Therefore, it is important to understand how in the 14 years between these reports Australia has dropped this low on the list, and whether the Coronavirus pandemic had any major impact on this number. The longer the world lives in the current pandemic, studies and statistics are shining a light on the disadvantages women are facing by Coronavirus and how this is contributing to global gender inequality. Landivar et al. state that women are facing a “triple whammy” as many women are frontline workers at risk of contracting the virus, as workers in industries that are currently experiencing greater economic distress, and as caregivers with increased workload due to school and daycare closures (Landivar, L et al. 2020). Due to the pandemic response, Australian women have been put at a greater risk of contracting the virus and being negatively affected by the pandemic.

Recent studies have found that due to the pre-existing gender roles and norms assigned to women, they are more likely of contracting Coronavirus than males. Although many industries have increased their female employment rates, women in 2020 are still considered more likely to work in compassionate roles, as opposed to men, and are expected to take responsibility for caring for family or loved ones that have fallen ill (Wenham, C et al. 2020). The 2014-16 West African Ebola virus outbreak is an excellent example of the gendered norms that led to women having higher infection rates than men. Women were reported as less likely than men to have decision-making power in relation to the outbreak, thus their needs were largely unmet due to this (Wenham, C 2020). This included putting women in jobs and carer positions that made them more susceptible to contracting the virus, very similar to the current climate (Wenham, C 2020). Historically, women were the assumed caregiver to not only healthy but very ill families, and statistics show that in previous epidemics and pandemics, the societal role of women has put them in a serious, vulnerable position of potential contraction. The 1918 influenza pandemic resulted in an in-depth study on the statistics of contraction amongst socioeconomic status and gender, proving that women were at double the risk of contraction than men due to their societal roles (Mamelund, S 2018). Although women have come far since the 1918 pandemic, roles have simultaneously reversed back to how they once were and are still assumed to partake in certain societal roles resulting in higher risks for women to exist amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Globally, the most hard-hit and important industries since the arrival of COVID-19 are those that are female-dominated, health professionals, education, and retail (Barneveld, K 2020). Due to this, a large percentage of the Australian female population is working in high-risk industries, making them more vulnerable to contracting the virus, specifically nurses as they have been the most exhausted career recently. Not only are women working in such high-risk industries, they are considered more likely to care for family members in the home, especially those who are sick. This can boil down to cultural or religious beliefs, or a personal choice, but it is shown that women are the assumed caregivers when COVID-19 strikes at home. Apart from the higher risk of contraction, women are also severely disadvantaged by the virus in other aspects of life.

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The largest impact on gender inequality in 2020 is the negative effects on women that stem from the Coronavirus. Not only an Australian issue, but personal health, safety, and job instability are also the largest contributing factors to the disparity between men and women globally. Women’s reproductive and sexual health has been jeopardized since the beginning of this year as the availability of women’s healthcare services has been decreased and considered “not essential” (Neetu, J 2020). These services include access to safe abortions, disrupted supply and access to contraceptives, treatment for STDs, and regular pap smears (Cousins, S 2020). Due to this decreasing availability of reproductive and sexual health care, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) predicts that there could be an excess of 7 million unintended pregnancies worldwide due to the pandemic and potential thousands of deaths resulting from unsafe abortions and complicated births resulting from the “inadequate access to emergency care” (Cousins, S 2020). Alike the healthcare issues being faced, the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) has skyrocketed due to a lack of available support services. Data from over 80 countries suggests that 1 in 3 women who have previously been in a relationship have experienced either physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner (Neetu, J 2020). When adding the stress of a pandemic that comes with many issues, namely financial instability, there is an expected rise in GBV, and unfortunately, that has been the case in the current global crisis. Early reports on the pandemic suggest that an increase in domestic violence has disrupted essential GBV services and groups and measures such as quarantine and social distancing has increased the occurrence of such violence (Neetu, J 2020). Therefore, as there has been a lack of accessibility to services and support, women’s chances of leaving or resisting abusive relationships have declined rapidly causing even higher rates of domestic violence and GBV (Neetu, J 2020). As aforementioned, a large contributor to increased GBV is an economic disruption or financial instability, and during the pandemic, there have been many jobs lost, however, those who are most at risk are women despite many being in the most called-on industries at the moment. Reportedly, women were not only the first to be considered when laying off employees but were also the first to be considered for cut nominal earnings as “Employers put women at the top of their layoff list whilst not always considering workers’ performance as relevant criteria for downsizing” (Kristal, T & Yaish, M 2020). It is also important to note the racial gender gap during this crisis also, as many racial minorities and indigenous groups have also seen a “disproportionately high” amount of disadvantages as many come from low economic areas and communities and have lost their jobs (van Dorn, A et al. 2020). It is apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic has a large impact on women globally, but it is important to ask the question, how can Australia minimize the impacts of the crisis and ensure that the nation is equal and fair going forward?

Many sources and reports have recommended that the best ways to combat the current issues are to create new jobs for women through stimulus spending in different industries and to increase the availability of healthcare services to women. UN Secretary-General António Guterres advocated that “any government plans for economic recovery post-COVID-19 must have leadership and equality for women at the center” (Barneveld, Kristin et. al 2020). The Australian Governments Workplace Gender Equality Agency stated that by using figures of workplace proportions of women in different industries it can be concluded that stimulus spending in the high-demand industries of education, health, and social services would create the most jobs for women (Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2020). It is essential that this issue be taken into account and amended as soon as possible as there is a potential global GDP loss of $1 trillion (USD) by 2030 if the women who have lost their jobs do not return to the workforce (Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2020). In addition to restoring jobs, the Australian government can aim to increase the availability of healthcare services to women. By assigning annual expenditures to increase the availability and accessibility of reproductive and sexual health care services, Australian women will be at a smaller risk of unwanted pregnancies, untreated STDs, lack of accessibility to contraception, and so forth. Implementing these strategies will not guarantee complete gender equality in Australia but it is definitely the most important and probable goal in the current climate.

To conclude, the impact on women during the COVID-19 pandemic has been debilitating and harmful. Women are not only more likely to contract Coronavirus due to the higher percentage of women working in frontline careers, but are severely more at risk due to inadequate reproductive and sexual health care, the rise and inescapability of domestic violence and gender-based violence, and of job instability. In order to create a fair and equitable Australia during this tough time it is imperative to create new jobs through stimulus spending for women who have been disadvantaged and by providing more available and accessible women’s health care.

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Pros and Cons of Coronavirus Essay. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/pros-and-cons-of-coronavirus-essay/
“Pros and Cons of Coronavirus Essay.” Edubirdie, 13 Dec. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/pros-and-cons-of-coronavirus-essay/
Pros and Cons of Coronavirus Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/pros-and-cons-of-coronavirus-essay/> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
Pros and Cons of Coronavirus Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Dec 13 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/pros-and-cons-of-coronavirus-essay/
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