The impact of covid on women and the poor especially in the Philippines

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2020 - 12:00am

When Bill Gates said that millions more will die before the COVID-19 pandemic is over it includes the Philippines. Although we are on the medium economic level we have a big poor population of disadvantaged women and poor families who are homeless.

Most of these deaths, he said, would be caused not by the disease itself, but by the further strain on health-care systems and economies that were already struggling. He also lamented the politicisation of the response to the virus in America, and the spread of conspiracy theories – some implicating him – both of which have slowed efforts to contain the disease’s spread. But he offered reasons for hope in the medium term, predicting that by the end of 2021 a reasonably effective vaccine would be in mass production, and a large enough share of the world’s population would be immunised to halt the pandemic in its tracks.

Mr Gates had spent much of his time thinking about viruses, and vaccines, well before the novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei late last year. The Gates Foundation is central to the global alliance trying to eradicate polio by vaccinating everyone and to ease the burden of malaria and find a vaccine against it. It is several years since he warned that a new disease causing a global pandemic was a matter of when, not if, and called for the world to hold “Germ Games” along the lines of the wargames carried out by armies. The foundation has already pledged more than $350M to the COVID-19 pandemic response, much of which is focused on reducing its impact in the developing world. But more is needed. “We all need to spend billions to get the vaccine out to save the trillions that the economic damage is doing,” he says.

The inequality between men and women in the Philippines is more obvious in the time of COVID.

So, too is the inequality between the rich and the poor. This is what we should look into if we are to learn the lessons of the pandemic tragedy.

Statistics do not give the full story of the disparity in numbers. According to the official records Demography of the Philippines records the human population, including its population density. According to records of  65 and over, 5 percent are male (1,876,805) while the number of female is 2,471,644). This was gathered a few years back and would have considerably changed.

Because of this sex ratio  females become prostitutes in the Philippines after they become unwed single mothers from teenage pregnancy. It is estimated that more than half of these women do.

Most countries are already aware that the impact of COVID-19 across the global economy will be profound. Markets and supply chains have been disrupted, businesses are required to close or scale back operations, and millions have or will lose their jobs and livelihoods.

ILO has estimated that full or partial lockdown measures now affect almost 2.7 billion workers, representing around 81 percent of the world¹s workforce, while the IMF projects a significant contraction of global output in 2020. COVID-19 is lurching the world economy towards a global recession, which will be strikingly different from past recessions.

Here are some excerpts from an ILO brief:

“The impact of COVID-19 suggests that women’s economic and productive lives will be affected disproportionately and differently from men. Across the globe, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs, are more likely to be employed in the informal sector.

They have less access to social protections and are the majority of single-parent households. Their capacity to absorb economic shocks is therefore less than that of men.

As women take on greater care demands at home, their jobs will also be disproportionately affected by cuts and lay-offs.

Support measures in response to COVID-19 need to go beyond workers who hold formal sector jobs and include informal, part-time and seasonal workers, most of whom are women. This is particularly necessary in female-dominated spheres such as the hospitality, food and tourism sectors, now at a standstill due to confinement measures by governments.”

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with