a pandemic year that worsened inequalities in our country


Publication: Sunday March 7, 2021 11:34 PM

After a pandemic year, the feminist movement is once again in the mirror. Because if COVID has changed everyone’s life, that of women has its own peculiarities. Faced with this great crisis, we emphasized who is strong in a society and who is weak. And if the data from last year made anything clear, it’s that the underprivileged face is again that of women.

So much so that, for example, the only demonstration banned in the Spanish capital by the government delegation in recent times was that of 8M. No political, educational or health requirements.

But that’s just one more symptom: According to the latest CIS survey on mental health during the pandemic, women suffered more in any of the cases: anxiety, awareness of unease, worry or even nightmares. The mental burden.

“The one who always pays is the woman”

So has 2020 been a bad year for women? For journalist and feminist activist Cristina Fallarás, yes, without a doubt. “It’s because it’s been shown that when someone pays, it’s the women. Who lacks money, who takes care of the house and daily life, ”he argues during a conversation with LaSexta.

“This year, we have regressed in everything. The pandemic has been like an oil stain that covers everything. Or like a cancer diagnosis that leaves everything else in suspense. We are no longer talking about refugees, displaced people, women beaten, we do it. no longer talk about almost anything, except the pandemic “, considers Rosa Montero, writer, in the same sense, but with great nuances.” It is not the year of women, nor of women. men. It is a painful, painful, traumatic year. Let’s see what comes out of here, which is not at all clear “, also laments the journalist.

The pandemic has been like an oil spill that covers everything. Or like a cancer diagnosis that leaves everything else hanging in the air

Containment measures, mobility restrictions, the economic crisis, the closure of schools and the overcrowding of health centers are leading millions of women to extreme situations with an increase in workload and stress. The situation, which is beginning to appear permanent, is worrying.

[[H3:La violencia aumenta: +200% de consultas online]]

Starting with gender violence at its most terrible edge: the murders. The death toll, a figure that has been increasing since 2016 – according to data from the Government Delegation for Gender Violence – has been radically slowed down by the confinement. In the first year of the pandemic, 45 women died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner in Spain. In 2019, there were 55; in 2018, 51 and in 2017, 50.

Terror for many others has led to other forms of violence. The forcible confinement did not allow any woman who was living her own hell to leave the four walls of her house. And this was quickly reflected: in April of last year alone, calls to 016, the phone against gender-based violence, increased by 60%. Online inquiries increased 200%.

This is a clear symptom of the magma many women were plunged into when public health hampered them. “In the same way that COVID mainly attacks people with previous pathologies, we can also say that the pandemic has worsened previous social pathologies, and gender inequality is one of the main ones,” comments Laura Freixas, writer.

According to the “ ClosingGap ” index, Spain would take 35 years to achieve effective equality

For example, the index “ ClosingGap ” (Closing the gap, in Spanish), which measures the evolution of women in five key areas: employment, education, work-life balance, digitization and health and well-being, is located in our country. , for the year 2020, to 64.1%. Thus, and to achieve effective equality, it would take 35 years for the increase in this remaining percentage to continue at the same rate as in recent years.

This is not the only sample. According to the latest Eurostat data, Spain is the country in the European Union where female unemployment increased the most in 2020. During the pandemic year, female unemployment in our country increased by three points (from 15.7% to 18%)., 4%) and the inequality gap widened (18.4% compared to 14.2%: the biggest difference in the whole of the EU ). In addition, this brand is more than double the average of the 27 Member States (7.9%)

In total data, only Greece (20.6%) surpasses Spain (18.4%) as the EU country with the highest female unemployment rate.

In addition, according to Ilostat, the statistics department of the International Labor Organization, the pandemic “ has had an excessively negative impact on women, as there are more women working in tourism, retail and trade. informal sectors, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic. “

Teleworking, care and school closures

In Freixas’ eyes, “this inequality is manifested by the fact that women, even before the pandemic, suffered more unemployment, more precarious contracts, lower wages, more chances of leading a single-parent family and more. time devoted to the free care of children, the elderly and, with the consequent penalization of their employment and their economic situation (which subsequently results in pensions much lower than those of men) ”.

In addition, the closure of schools, nurseries and residences, which “has greatly increased the dedication of women to care, with the consequent drop in employment and an increase in the pay gap”, for Freixas.

This is something Rosa Marquez agrees with, writer and co-author of the feminist documentary “What’s Going On”, Netflix, and the essay “Have You Closed Your Legs? with Marta Jaenes, a journalist from this house. “Women played a very important role during the pandemic: they are in the majority in sectors that have been essential such as health, commerce, healthcare or cleaning. However, many of these jobs are neither well paid nor socially recognized and I fear that the crisis that is hitting us will lead to further poverty and job insecurity among women, ”she laments.

There are more mothers who cannot find their jobs than fathers

With this in mind, the Ministry of Equality closed just a few days ago the distribution of 190 million euros for this course, hand in hand with the communities, to create a network of professional caregivers who facilitate reconciliation. and care for minors under 14 while their mothers are working. The project, called Plan Corresponsables, goes to the Council of Ministers tomorrow Tuesday and is aimed at single-parent families, victims of gender-based violence, the unemployed and women over 45.

The objective towards which the action of the ministry is directed is very real and very present: the data of the Labor Force Survey (EPA) painted a gloomy picture in the last quarter of 2020. The employment of women has lowered more than that of men, with a particular emphasis on motherhood. Because the male fathers have returned to the level of work in the same bracket of 2019, but not the mothers: their employability has fallen. Specifically, 2.4%.

The truth is that a large part of the social problem left by the pandemic has been “of not providing an adequate, comprehensive and viable response to women in these times of pandemic”, in the words of Loola Pérez, sex therapist and educator. “Public policies have been conceived as slogans, as a type of partisan propaganda. There is no commitment to conciliation, which involves” only “women,” he said.

“Sex workers have been excluded from the minimum living income; we have adopted “ teleworking ” without offering alternatives to women who are mothers and who fear that their productivity will decrease due to the mental load involved in “ knowing about family and work ”, employment policies pay little attention to the employment situation of women … “, enumerates Pérez.

A feminism in rupture

However, not all of them are negative consequences of the pandemic. At least that’s how the writer and essayist Luna Miguel sees it, in conversation with LaSexta. “We need this historic demand for equality not to remain stagnant in a single date,” he argues. “I would like to think that a year as complex as this one, despite everything, gave us the tools to know how important human bonds, friendship, care and generosity are. And these things, precisely, were they not feminist demands? don’t forget, ”he says.

But perhaps much of this relegation, of this feeling that what will happen will be worse, is due to the division that exists within feminism itself. According to the sexologist, the year of the pandemic was not the year of women, but “it is rather the year when the great rupture which exists within the feminist movement was put on the table”.

I would like to think that a year as complex as this one, despite everything, gave us the tools to know how important human bonds, friendship, care and generosity are. And weren’t these things precisely feminist demands?

“We went from debates to confrontations. The level of hostility that this year has been instilled in feminist spaces and conferences has tarnished the needs and demands of women in the face of the consequences of COVID-19: problems of conciliation, precariousness, difficulties. access a quality education, cut social services … ”, sighs Pérez.

Perhaps that is why the feeling of stepping back on the path of equality is so pervasive. All the voices consulted agree: there has been no progress from one year to the next. “We have regressed a lot, in the number of enemies we face and their power in the institutions,” argues Cristina Fallarás.

And he continues: “No one in a democracy had dared to deny that gender violence exists and, with Vox’s positions, all those sexists who dare not say it are legitimized. And the flip side is devastating. We don’t. have not given. we account for the broken. The pandemic is diluting gender-based violence. ”

The nearest future may not have much light. It can take time, as with any disaster, to be aware of what the pandemic has meant for women and to recover what has been accomplished. But if one thing is clear, it is that resistance – which cannot be indefinite – will always have a before and an after in this dark year.

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