As we are all female focused organisations, we are convinced you are well aware of the effect of the corona crisis on women. But how do we ensure women empowerment and gender equality remain important topics on the agenda during this crisis?
Why RISE now.
Before the corona crisis, the percentage of financially independent women in the Netherlands was 46.9%, 71% of women had paid work and three-quarters of all working Dutch women worked part-time. Research indicates that the position of women worldwide will suffer from this pandemic. Past outbreaks, including Zika, Ebola and SARS, have taught us that these types of pandemics have long-lasting implications for gender equality and women’s financial independence.
This specific COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that countries with female heads of state have dealt with the outbreak of the corona crisis in a very successful way. Unfortunately, at the same time, it has also shown that women have been losing their jobs at a higher rate than men during COVID-19. Proof that equality cannot wait any longer. While we need more female leaders to stand up, we also need employers to be aware of the effect of the crisis on women.
It is frustrating that findings like these have not made it through to our policy makers, who still adopt a gender-neutral approach to pandemics. In April, ZonMw Institute interviewed scientists prof. dr. Sabine Oertelt-Prigione and dr. Petra Verdonk about gender in times of corona. The message from both scientists: take gender and diversity into account when determining measures for the short and longer term. The focus must not only be on the health consequences, but also on the social impact of this pandemic.