Coronavirus in Mexico: women who suffer disproportionately from the crisis of COVID-19


The containment measures against the COVID-19 disproportionately affect the mexican women, who are loaded with the triple of domestic work and care, and working in greater proportion in the sectors most affected by the crisis.

Feminists called for the mexican Government to include gender perspective in the policies of stay at home and care for vulnerable groups, such as women make 76.4% of the total of housework and care, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).

It is the case of María Eugenia Licona, who lives in Mexico City with her husband and their son of 26 years, of whose salaries depend on now left without income by the economic crisis derived from the coronavirus.

“I do crafts and since all of that is just because it is not always there, and now, with this less. Then just we are dedicated to the salary of the two. But you have to help us all, somehow, told Efe.

The pandemic has immediate effects in industries with more female workers, as they represent 57.47 per cent of the workforce of retail sales and 59.31% in hosting services, preparation of food and beverages, according to the Inegi.

In addition, they are more exposed to the emergency to be the 67.71% of the health workers, and social assistance.

Added to this is the precarious situation faced in Latin america, where there are 126 million women in the informal economy and are the 75% of the people in the first line of health care, or care against the disease, told Efe María Noel Vaeza, regional director of UN Women.

That’s why in Mexico, where the rate of informality female is 57%, there are women who are reluctant to stay home, as Lizeth Galvan, who has a food stall in the center of the mexican capital where she also takes care of other family members under the age of age no longer go to classes for the contingency.

“It’s okay because they are measures that must be taken, but those of us who are traders don’t have support. Then we don’t have how to survive because we are out there day-to-day to seek the sustenance“told Efe.

To declare the start of phase 2 of the epidemic of coronavirus, president Andrés Manuel López Obrador caused controversy by suggesting that women are more responsible than men for the care of their family.

“It is a fact, it is known that especially the daughters take care of parents. Men can be more detached, but the daughters are always watching their mothers, their fathers,” stated the president in his press conference Tuesday, adding that Mexico has “that’s why millions of nurses”.

Barbara Gonzalez, a political scientist of the group, Women+Women, criticized the statements of Lopez Obrador to demand action that to address the overload of unpaid work and the economic impact that the COVID-19 will have on the mexican.

“Yes, this is the reality in Mexico, but there is a reality that should be standardized by the State. And if we are seeing that the crisis is going to exacerbate this inequality, this disparity, then what we would expect from the Government are measures that will mitigate the impact,” he said during an interview.

The crisis of the coronavirus deepened days after the historic days of 8 and 9 march, when millions of mexican marched and made a stop at the national level to demand equality policies in the public and private sectors.

González argued that the health emergency does not erase their claims, but that the remains in force to be necessary, more than ever, labour flexibility policies, as care of children and families.

“We’re going to continue to insist that in the care of the crisis to consider the perspective of gender and the differentiated impact of disasters. The truth is not what we are seeing in the private sector, but if there is a guide to the Government, what can we expect from the private sector?”said.

The activist acknowledged that, after the controversy of López Obrador, the National Women’s Institute participated in the press conference of the ministry of Health to inform of actions against male violence in the homethat could increase with the quarantine.

But asked for the inclusion of women is in all levels and areas of Government.

“We want to hear and we want representation. It is not enough to say, ‘well, we are going to give a conference'”, concluded.

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