It looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel as far as beating Covid-19 is concerned. At least if some of the updates we’re getting from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education among other Government bodies is anything to go by. Not to say that we should drop our guard and stop being careful. But at least we can breath and the country can start looking at a possible post Covid-19 recovery plans.
Given the devastation that Covid has brought about, there’s a lot of work to be done to recover what is left of our economy, our farming sector, our healthcare, our education sector, our travel and tourism and indeed just about every sector. Millions of jobs have been lost and families have suffered and this needs to be worked on soonest.
Covid came and found an environment that was already skewed negatively against women. A lot of inequalities that have been fought for years were still very much with us by the time the pandemic hit and things have only gotten worse. Maternal and reproductive health which were already coming from a disadvantaged point have taken a further beating especially since the pandemic demanded so much of our not too strong healthcare system.
Gender based violence has taken quite an unfortunate turn during the pandemic and women were stuck with their abusers at home, most because of the lockdown and curfew, others because they are unable to leave their abusers, and others because they really are not aware of the alternatives and have nowhere to go.
So as we emerge from the darkness that has been Covid-19, there so much to be done and just about every individual and entity has a role to play. The remedies to the disparities are too many to be discussed in one article but at least we will try to look at a few players and what they can do for women to get back on their feet.
You and I can access where the pandemic has left us and craft ways of crawling out. Those who still held their jobs or businesses and have some little money left can help kickstart women who lost their economic opportunities. Help out a friend or relative here and there with some starting capital however little to get back to business. Other than being financial help, this is also quite the morale boost that most people need for their inner fierceness to kick in.
NGOs and Donors
If the world is to tackle the problems of things like Gender based violence, sexual abuse, teen pregnancies and so many more societal problems, a lot of data and funds are needed and this is where our NGOs and donors can come in. To put in perspective the accurate extent of the problems, and to device ways of sorting them out. UN Women for example is providing up-to-date information and supporting vital programs to fight the ills that have afflicted women during the pandemic. Other charity bodies are also doing their part and if as many of them chip into the problem, the world will at least be in a better place than it is right now. It will take time but doing something is always better than nothing.
Women’s rights organizations
Women’s rights have been trampled on to an unimaginable extent during the pandemic, especially because for so many months, the world’s eyes were strained on the active disease itself. It is time to highlight these ills so that they can be picked by other relevant bodies and acted upon.
I think it is safe to say that Government has the bulk of the work to do as far as mending the world is concerned. It is at their doorstep that the healthcare problems stop since healthcare is a right that is enshrined in our constitution. Also, law enforcement falls squarely on Government and it has the muscle and the duty to bring to book perpetrators of some of the atrocities visited upon women.
Government also has the power to rubberstamp a lot of policies and programs that other players will come up with and it should do so without any delays or frustrations. Our leaders have the duty and the ability to formulate motions favourable to women and to push them through. And this should be fast enough so that the benefits trickle down to the grassroots and women will take up the mantle and rise up again.
It is quite understandable that a lot of businesses both big and small took a severe economic beating and some of them even closed. Those that did not close were forced to lay off a significant number of their staff members. Women especially were more affected because many of their jobs are in areas like service sector and SMEs. But as the economy improves, private sector will get back on its feet and create the much needed jobs, re-employ previous staff, employ fresh staff, and little by little the ripple effects of a working nation will be felt across families and communities.
Media can and does shape opinions and its role in post Covid recovery cannot be underestimated. With the toll that the pandemic has taken on the world, mainstream media and bloggers have their work cut out in highlighting the problems as well as the successes. These successes are particularly crucial because people have suffered massively even in areas of mental health and something positive to look upto is always welcome.
In our next article, we will have a look at what is already being done for women, how well these interventions are working, and what more can be done. In the meantime, what can you as an individual do to put the world on the path to recovery?