Deeds, not Words08.06.2021
“It is easy, out of laziness, out of weakness, to throw oneself into the lap of deity, saying, “I couldn’t help it; the way was set.” But think of the glory of the choice!”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
What are our initial thoughts when we hear the word CRISIS? We see it as a danger, a situation of uncertainty and instability, something that will definitely change our lives.
In 2020 our lives turned into some never-ending greyhound days. Our news feed was hopeless and desperate as the crisis left no one behind. An economic showdown, pandemic, unemployment, a hovering distress in organization and communication routine – the list is not exhausted.
The economic downfall triggered by the pandemic has impacted each and every country in the world, both women and men. Unfortunately, according to the latest International Monetary Fund working paper (March 2021), women took a heavy burden of the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19, therefore a long-term impact, woven into the global nature of the pandemic will significantly change the situation of women and girls in all countries.
As in many nations, women are traditionally employed in manufacturing, tourism, wholesale and retail trade, healthcare, education, those sectors of the economy that were next to devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Latin America it’s almost that 57% of jobs, while in the UK it’s around 78% of all jobs in the health and social work sector are or were held by women.
Moreover, a higher childcare burden as the schools being suspended has fundamentally impacted the unemployment rates for women. In Europe, 30% of women were working part-time. Unfortunately, the pandemic has pushed women into reducing or even quitting their jobs.
The recommendations on the part of the international organizations, such as the UN Women, International Labor Organization, the IMF and an amassing variety of papers on this topic call to address growing effects of the pandemic on women in a timely manner.
Recently I’ve stopped upon an interesting survey in the US indicating that 59% of men underscored that COVID-19 had a greater negative impact on mental health than the 2008 economic recession.
Pandemic has also resulted in an increased stress level to men. Men found themselves in new roles while helping their family to adjust to the stay-at-home and learn-at-home situation. The threat to lose a job put an additional concern that men won’t be able to fulfill their role as breadwinners as it’s traditionally viewed in many societies.
As our nations and communities begin the recovery and reopening process, as we lift our masks, we should envision mutual ways of how can we help ourselves to become more resilient, more open and more flexible.
In ancient Greek, “crisis” has a very different meaning – it goes for “decide”, among others. It’s a call for action and solutions, a call for common and unified efforts and deeds, not words or fears of the separated groups.
This is a unique opportunity to overcome deeply rooted and inherited frames of social boundaries for women and men, which provides us with a real-time chance to obtain new social skills and behavior patterns or even to gain different professions, thus, providing a long-term effect for faster recovery of the commonwealth.
Pursuing targets of the improved child care, consolidated efforts for protection of women’s and men’s health should create a critical moment for the whole global society wellbeing.
We should manifest the talents of women, their endless energy and agility.
We should manifest men for their courage and readiness to face the challenges of each day.
A crisis is a trigger for each human being. As we take our mutual call to “fight or flight” response, we can see that the challenges of the day for women and men are a horizon opening opportunity. This is a chance “to fight” for what is able to bring the human society to a higher development level.
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Alumna