At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, #WomenCovidScot was established as a way for women in Scotland to share their experiences of lockdown, furlough, unpaid care, and other issues.
Through submitting stories anonymously on our website, or on social media, #WomenCovidScot provided a way to highlight the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, as well as offering women an outlet to record their frustrations and gain much-needed solidarity.
As soon as Covid-19 hit Scotland, it was clear that women would bear the brunt of both the virus itself, and the ensuing public health measures. To complement the policy work Engender was doing to ensure that the response to Covid-19 was gender-sensitive, the aim of this project was to present the women’s lives behind the policy briefings.
Before the pandemic, women were already facing unsustainable levels of unpaid work including care, childcare, and household management, but much of this work goes unseen and un-measured. This project wanted to demonstrate the reality of women’s lives in lockdown and highlight the vital work which is so-often dismissed because it is disproportionately done by women.
As well as unpaid work, the project aimed to show that women were over-represented in front-line and keyworker positions like caring and retail – exposing them to the virus and also presenting additional challenges of balancing home-schooling, work, and household-mixing restrictions.
#WomenCovidScot aimed to make a compelling case for gendering our response to Covid-19 and working to ensure that women’s work is recognised, valued, and shared.
The project has received a wide-range of responses, providing a gripping but heart-breaking snapshot of women’s experiences of the pandemic.
Key themes which emerged included:
- paid work, including sexist application of furlough by employers, challenged faced by zero-hours and freelance workers, unreasonable expectations from employers, feeling unsafe in the workplace, and redundancy
- unpaid work, including gendered aspects of home-schooling, managing provisioning during lockdown, family administration such as cancelling holidays and arranging online social gatherings
- psychological impacts, including the guilt of ignoring children while home-working, managing family disputes over obeying regulations, additional stress caused by concern for loved ones
- well-being, including issues accessing pregnancy and post-natal services, the postponement of court cases (concerning violence against women), and severe mental health concerns.
Read the stories, submit your own, and consider the impacts of the Covid-19 on women in Scotland.
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