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Is Covid Unleashing Disaster Patriarchy?

Covid has resulted in the most significant setback to women's liberation in their lifetime. At the moment, we are witnessing the emergence of disaster patriarchy. Naomi Klein was the first to observe “disaster capitalism,” which occurs when capitalists use a tragedy to impose policies that they would not be able to implement in ordinary times, thus boosting their profit. Disaster patriarchy is a simultaneous and complementary process in which men use a catastrophe to restore authority and domination while rapidly erasing hard-won women's rights.

Patriarchy has used the virus to retake power all over the world. They are raising the danger and violence against women while stepping in as their putative controller and defender. In disaster patriarchy, women lose their safety, economic power, autonomy, and education, and they are pushed to the frontlines, unprotected, to be sacrificed. We have seen an increase in violence against women, whether cisgender or gender-diverse, during this horrible time of Covid.

Intimate terrorism in the home has turned millions of women's homes into a kind of torture chamber. As the world has been pushed online by lockdown, we have seen the growth of revenge porn; such digital sexual abuse is becoming crucial to domestic violence, as intimate partners threaten to disseminate sexually explicit photographs without victims' consent.

The lockdown conditions - confinement, economic insecurity, dread of illness, and an abundance of alcohol – were a perfect storm for misuse. It is difficult to say which is more disturbing: the fact that thousands of men still feel willing and entitled to dominate, abuse, and abuse their wives, girlfriends, and children in 2021, or the fact that no government appears to have considered this in their lockdown planning.


Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing in Peru since the lockdown was imposed, and are presumed dead. According to government numbers obtained by Al Jazeera, 606 girls and 309 women went mislaid between 16th, March, and June, 30 of last year. School closures have raised the possibility of various sorts of violence around the world. According to the US Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, its helpline for survivors of sexual assault has never been in such high demand in its 26-year history since children are locked up, with abusers with no way to alert teachers or friends.

According to activist Luisa Rizzitelli, calls to the national anti-violence toll-free number in Italy, climbed by 73%, between 1 March and 16 April 2020. Emergency call handlers in Mexico received the most calls in the country's history, while the number of women seeking domestic abuse shelters doubled. To make matters worse, several governments cut financing for these shelters at a time, when they were, most needed. This appears to be the case throughout Europe. According to providers in the United Kingdom, the Covid-19 crisis has compounded a lack of access to treatment for migrant and Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women.

According to the organizations that engage with these communities, continuing inequality creates further barriers to remote access to services like education, healthcare, and disaster relief.

Between the start of the epidemic and November 2020, more than 5 million women's employment, was lost in the United States. Because many women's work includes personal interaction with the public - restaurants, retail, daycare, and healthcare settings - they were among the first to be eliminated. Those who were able to keep their employment were frequently frontline employees whose jobs put them in jeopardy; 77% of hospital employees and 74% of school employees are female.

Even then, a shortage of childcare choices prevented many women from returning to work. For men, having children has no such effect.

In other regions of the world, women face more adversity. Shabnam Hashmi, a prominent women's rights activist in India, revealed that by April 2020, 39.5 percent of women in the country would have lost their work. “Working from home is especially hard for women since their personal space has vanished, and their workload has tripled,” Hashmi says. The health catastrophe has exacerbated existing inequities in Italy.

According to Rizzitelli, women already face reduced employment, lower wages, and more unstable contracts and are rarely engaged in “safe” corporate roles; they have been the first to bear the brunt of the crisis's consequences. When women face financial hardship, their rights deteriorate faster. With Covid's economic difficulties, sex- and labor trafficking are on the rise once more. Landlords prey on young women who can not pay their rent, a practice known as "sextortion."

It is also crucial to consider who takes care of the sick, the needy, and the dying whereas, women take care of the ill, the poor, and the dying. “Social conventions that place a large caring burden on women and girls remain likely to cause their physical and emotional health to suffer,” says Colani Hlatjwako, an activist leader from the Kingdom of Eswatini. These arrangements also obstruct access to education, harm livelihoods, and deprive people of resources.

According to Unesco, up to 11 million girls may not return to school once the Covid pandemic has passed. The Malala Fund predicts a much higher figure: 20 million. According to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of UN Women, her organization has been working for girls' education since the 1995 UN Women's Summit in Beijing. “Girls make up the majority of the students who are not returning to school,” she says. “We were making progress – not ideal, but we were keeping them in school for longer periods. And now, to have these ladies drop out in less than a year is pretty devastating.”

This dropout will be the most significant of all the setbacks. When girls are educated, they understand their rights and what they may demand. They have the opportunity to work and support their family. When they can not obtain an education, they become a financial burden on their families and often coerced into early marriages. These early weddings have ramifications for female genital mutilation in particular (FGM). Often, dads will accept not submitting their daughters to this process because education allows their daughters to become breadwinners. Without education, traditions such as selling females for dowries resume.


 According to Agnes Pareyio, head of Kenya's Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board, "Covid closed our classrooms and brought our daughters home." Nobody had any idea what was going on in the houses. We all know that educating a girl prevents FGM. And now, tragically, the opposite is true.”

Covid has discovered that when it comes to women, we live with two conflicting mindsets. The first is that women are crucial to all aspects of life and our species' existence. The second point to make is that women are readily raped, sacrificed, and erased. This ill-treatment is the dichotomy that patriarchy has woven, into the fabric of life. And which Covid has exposed. This paradox must be healed and made whole if we are to survive as a species.

The issue is not the lockdowns themselves, but what the lockdowns and the pandemic that caused them have revealed. Covid has demonstrated that patriarchy is still alive and well. It will reassert itself in times of crisis because it has never been fully, dismantled, and that, like an untreated virus, it will resurface with a vengeance when the conditions are right.

The truth is that we will constantly be spinning our wheels unless the culture changes unless patriarchy is abolished.

Coming out of Covid, we must be bold, brave, and outrageous to imagine a more radical way of living on Earth. We must continue to develop and spread activist movements. Women of color and progressive grassroots women of color are needed in positions of power. We require a worldwide project on the magnitude of the Marshall Plan or larger to dismantle and exorcise patriarchy, which is at the basis of so many other forms of oppression, from imperialism to racism, from transphobia to environmental degradation.

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Tags: covid patriarchy violation womenempowerment womenrights

1 comment

11 months, 2 weeks ago by Krisha00kashyap

This is a remarkable article!

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