The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many problems in our lives. Some are struggling with their own health, mentally and physically, meanwhile, some are mourning over a lost family member and some can’t get together with their families. Economic issues are rising and are affecting many women in Latin America.
As the economy started to struggle, Latina women began to face large job losses. As an example, in the United States, in April, 20.2% of Latina women and 16.7% of Latina men were unemployed, the number and gap only get bigger in Latin America. Before the pandemic, Latin America was doing a great job at including women in the labor market. However, now, it has decreased a large amount that it erased all of its improvement. And when we include the economic problems that were caused to women, solving these issues will be even more difficult. In June, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that women’s jobs were struggling 1.8 times more than men’s. These struggles have caused these businesses to shut down or get smaller which of course had an effect on Latina women. It took their jobs away from them and caused most of them to face socio-economic problems and some are even facing poverty. It is estimated that the pandemic will leave 118 million women and girls facing poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is a very large number and needs to be reduced.
Sexism in this issue
The increasing wage gap is also a problem in Latin America. Including the recent economic problems women are facing because of the pandemic, the gender pay gap also has gotten worse. As businesses that are mostly women-centered started to struggle, they caused many women to be unemployed and also have lower incomes which of course affected the wage gap. There is also a possibility that women lost their jobs because a struggling business may have believed that men work better than women and don’t deserve to be unemployed. women were also forced to leave their paid work and education to work on household responsibilities as well as taking care of their children because of the lack of childcare. Before women were already performing 76% of unpaid household work overall in Latin America and throughout the pandemic, this increased even more (the highest being 86% in Guatemala).
Some believe that this reset in women empowerment is a way to start again with a stronger base and gain more improvement by focusing on these main points.
1. Having men contribute to unpaid household work.
This will not only help to have a gender-equal atmosphere at home that will affect future generations but also will give women more time to focus on themselves and be further suitable for more jobs.
2. Providing more services to women in the workforce.
women in Latin America have a higher chance to be temporary workers than men. This restricts them from having services such as health insurance. Giving equal aid to each gender, especially health insurance, will help women use their money on other subjects and decrease the inequality between the genders. women getting the same job placements as men are also very important. They have the right to be in a well, long-term position. The increase of women in large industries will be empowering and immediately improve gender equality.
3. Bringing gender-based violence to an end.
One of the most massive problems in gender inequality that should be solved immediately is gender-based violence. Respect between citizens can be the most important value when it comes to having an equal nation. Ending violence against women will make them stronger and have the same privileges and opportunities as men which is very significant.
Especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latina women are dealing with many problems, a large issue being unemployment or low income in the workforce. Unfortunately, this affects the overall gender equality in the region. However, when states start to focus on solving this problem in these countries, women will benefit and be free as men.