Monday, June 28, 2021

International Perspectives on Gender, Stress, and COVID19 Syndemic

Host: Margo Okazawa-Rey


The COVID pandemic has been stressful for all, but significantly more so for women, worldwide. Global pandemic studies show women are feeling more pressure than men, at work and home. They are feeling more exhausted, burned out, and under pressure than men. Loss of income and greater demands on time, paired with limited opportunities for support and self-care. Disruptions to day-care centers, schools, and after-school programs have been hard on all working parents, but more so on working mothers have taken on more of the resulting childcare responsibilities, and homeschooling. Please multiply this thousand times and more for poor and working-class women of color and white women; immigrant women; undocumented women; women living in already stressful and abusive situations. Imagine women living under occupation such as in Palestine. In short, women across the spectrum of class, race, and geography are facing untold physical, psychological, financial, and spiritual impacts.


To listen 58 mins.

Some Statistics

Black women are 3x more likely than non-Black women to report the death of a loved one in recent months. However, 27% of women reported an increase in challenges associated with mental illness, compared to only 10% of men. In addition, women (35%) report depression more so than men (19%). Women aged 18-24 were the hardest hit reporting great suicidal ideation than men (38% and 17% respectively) (CARE, 2021).Domestic violence has increased by 8.1% in the US and globally by 7.8% (Council on Criminal Justice, 2021).Gender-based violence and exploitation are often accompanied by financial dependence and limited education. In addition, social isolation from friends and neighbors that often notice, and report abuse is less likely, so statistics are likely underestimated. Across the world, women’s domestic work burden has exploded, in addition regardless of the country’s economic size women have lost income and unpaid care. Women from lower socioeconomic groups or marginalized have higher transmission and fatality rates and experience greater violence. Women represent 70% (UN, 2021) of healthcare workers and earn 28% less than men. In other industries, the gap is 16%. Women’s progress in the workplace has been derailed by COVID, particularly for working mothers, women in senior management positions, and Black women (Mckinsey, 2021). Women more likely to work in industries, hardest hit by COVID - such as the service and hospitality sector, and informal jobs such as domestic help, where no work = no pay. Impact of COVID likely multi-generational – estimates that 11 million girls have left school (UNESCO, 2021). Nearly half of all working women (46%) work in jobs paying low wages (Latina, 64%; Black, 54%; White 40%).


Policy Recommendations

1.Direct income support to women

2.Support for women-owned and -led businesses 

3.Support for women workers 

4.Support for informal workers 

5.Reconciliation of paid and unpaid work



Dr. Maheen Mausoof Adamson is a Stanford University Neuroscientist & Global COVID expert; a mother of 2; a Pakistani Muslim immigrant.

The Disproportionate Impact Of Covid-19 On Women

COVID-19 and its economic toll on women: The story behind the numbers

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