Corona Virus scare has caused families to crouch in their homes. New lingos have emerged; social distancing, self-isolation, Covid-19 etc. Home hygiene levels have increased in astronomic proportions with every family member compulsorily carrying hand sanitizers and observing hand washing rules frequently. Hand washing is the new essential! Hugs and handshakes are the new taboo! That’s the power of ugly realities forcing countries and individual to urgently build response and coping mechanisms. Although the whole word is plagued by the vicissitudes of the virus, no one wants to be a victim!
Covid-19 has taught many people what it means to live in fear daily. Covid-19 has got the whole world talking about safety. Covid-19 is teaching people what it means to live in isolation; what it means to be bereft of opportunities or alternatives for survival.
Unfortunately, millions of individuals, especially women grapple daily with other tragic realities. They live in fear every day. They lack opportunities or alternatives for surviving the harsh reality of their lives. Many of these people live in oppressive and toxic environments and endure unimaginable pain from their societies and significant others. There are women who have been denied opportunities for economic or financial growth because they are consumed by ‘unpaid’ work. Many are trapped in fear that they may become victims of unwanted pregnancies. Their daily reality is a lack of access to life-saving family planning information, products or services. Many are bedeviled by the burdens of childbearing, widowhood, female genital mutilation, gender-based violence, stress and absence of support systems when navigating career and motherhood.
For women belabored by these vicissitudes, Covid-19 is simply another layer to their existing, excruciating problems. Save for maybe, #MeToo, the oppression women endure globally has not been prominent on a massive media scale to drive immediate behavior changes at the home or corporate levels. I sincerely wish that the rate of awareness and response to the covid-19 virus could be replicated to ease the burdens of womanhood in several societies.
Today the whole world is burdened by the reality of the corona virus. For yesteryears, women have endured other painful realities which have even resulted in needless untold deaths. As the world unifies to combat the covid-19 scourge, ( and I hope they win this one quickly), my earnest desire is that no one going forward, turns a blind eye to the ugly challenges faced by women all over the world.
We all can start by ensuring that;
- our actions or inaction do not contribute to any additional maternal death
- maternal mortality rates in societies nosedive and women and their families live more fulfilling and purposeful lives
- Women have access to life-saving information like family planning, life-saving resources, life-saving health supplies and any other necessary life-saving support.
- Sound spiritual, physical, mental, social and financial health is enjoyed and should not be toyed with by societies and the world at large.
We can start by maintaining or increasing the tempo that was generated during the recent International Women’s day a few weeks ago and continuing to support women to be the best that they were created and designed to be. We can stop stigmatizing women who want fewer or no children.
Covid-19 is a deadly virus and there is an excellent response to stem the ugly tide. However, we must not forget that there are other pressing issues that require our response and support. This is a characteristic of the humanity we share. We are to care for one another, in covid-19 crisis or not!
Stay safe always!
Chidinma Onuoha is a lawyer and 2019 Winner of 120under40 award by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute