In Africa, women remain on the track?

are crashes That due to the Corona pandemic, entire companies, is probably due to the efforts of women to: maintain a voluntary and often unpaid care for sick r

In Africa, women remain on the track?

are crashes That due to the Corona pandemic, entire companies, is probably due to the efforts of women to: maintain a voluntary and often unpaid care for sick relatives, care for children and the elderly. The Zimbabwean sociologist Martha Mutisi believes that African companies often rely on: "women have been pushed into the role of carers. You care, of course, to care for sick relatives or to take over the teaching of their children, if the school, for example, because of a pandemic, fails." Corona requires many of the women in particular - and threatens at the same time, to make efforts for equality to nothing.

Mutisi has designed the women's promotion program "Women, Peace and Security" (WPS) of the New York University of Columbia. About women's organizations in as many countries as possible in sub-Saharan Africa, and platforms linked to transport, the concerns of women in the state bodies and in the media: "We want to give women a voice and their participation in the government's decisions strengthen. Especially in crisis situations, it is important, as in times of a pandemic, such as we are experiencing at the moment."

"feminisation of poverty"

In the past two years, Mutisi has reached women in ten countries, from Sudan to Lesotho in Web seminars. The goal is to involve women more in the management of crises, either by means of the Corona pandemic pressing become, and explained the women's rights activist: "The Corona pandemic exacerbated many of the risks and problems which women had been exposed to previously, for example, the Problem of domestic violence, or the Problem of poverty."

"let's Take my home country of Zimbabwe: the economic situation of many women through the Corona of a pandemic, significantly exacerbated," says Martha Mutisi. Even before the Corona-crisis, the country had to fight in southern Africa, with large economic problems. Due to the pandemic, the economic problems of the women were yet more evident: "We see a clear feminization of poverty. At this Moment, thousands of Zimbabwean women are sitting in their homes and starve. The Lockdown measures of the government, many are completely destitute." President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered the end of March, a far-reaching standstill, which applies for an indefinite period of time.

Also, the informal markets are largely closed - to the chagrin of many women, complains Mutisi. As in many other countries in Africa, women in Zimbabwe are disproportionately affected by poverty. Many were passed through the corona of crisis of a condition of "acute poverty" to a state of "absolute poverty," said Mutisi.

Less income, more risk

Similar to the situation in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau, located for years in a political and economic period of crisis, to come to the now, the Corona is added to this: "We women suffer particularly from the consequences of the pandemic," says Adama Djaló, Chairman of the Association "AMAE", the Association of "women with income from employment" in Guinea-Bissau. "A large part of the responsibility, and economic responsibility rests on our shoulders. Many of us have small shops and have to bear the responsibility for the nutrition of entire families. Many of us get up early in the morning at six, and arrive in the evening without a Cent, because the economic life is virtually at a standstill."

President Umaro Sissoco Embaló has the national state of emergency for the time being until 25. June extended - and thus the challenges faced by many women in particular.

throughout Africa, the Lockdown also special risks for women. Output in lock contribute to a large increase in cases of domestic violence, says sociologist Mutisi: "During the Corona-crisis, we are seeing a rise in gender-based violence, which affects not only adult women but also young girls. Women and girls are not allowed to go from their homes out, are at the mercy of the perpetrators of quasi."

Corona: a step backwards for the women's movement?

"I'm afraid that we will women be thrown back in our efforts to make our interests, for example, on a political and economic level, claim it. Our fight for equal rights is made difficult by this pandemic," says Adama Djaló.

The women in Guinea-Bissau have made in the last few years, great efforts have more influence on political decisions. But this work had been interrupted by the pandemic. In your country there are more than twenty different ethnic groups with completely different cultures and traditions, emphasized the Association's President. Many religious communities, especially the Muslim, the hear them self, it would be dominated by men, the very backward views of the role of women in politics, in professional life and in the world of work represented. Women should stay at home, wear veils, from Public back, hot again and again. These reactionary views seem to get, especially in times of Corona lift.

Martha Mutisi formulated it positive: This pandemic was a real challenge for the women's movement. The mobilization ability of women was limited by the corona crisis, but: "We also see reactions, the hope: We can see that women raise their voices when it comes to violence against women, or underage girls." The other day, gave it during the lock downs, and even a Demonstration in South Sudan. The participants had to wear masks.

For the women's movement, this pandemic was a big challenge, but the women will not give up. "You will continue to fight for their voices to be heard," says Martha Mutisi.

author: Antonio Cascais

*The contribution of "be Africa's women on the track?" published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 15 June 2020, 07:26

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