Throughout history, the achievements of numerous pioneering women have been swept under the rug or falsely credited to men. This is why Women’s History Month is such a great time to discover their stories and give them the recognition they always deserved.
However, it is important to remember that gender equality - while much closer - is still not a reality.
Intentionally or not, Women’s History Month can be presented in a very patronizing way, focusing on gender equality victories of the past to satiate demands for equality in the present. This approach harkens back to the infamous late 1960’s cigarette ad “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby,” which was released in the height of second wave feminism that informed demands for workplace and societal equality.
To side-step this condescending approach, Women’s History Month must be utilized as a time to frankly address women’s issues in the here and now.
Women have made tremendous strides in the past century, being paramount in numerous scientific, mathematical, and cultural advancements in our society. However, those must not overshadow the truth that women across America and the world need support now, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.
COVID’s Impact on Working Women and Mothers
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected every corner of society, and has highlighted the numerous societal and cultural ailments of the modern world. This is especially true of women, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Nearly 60% of jobs lost during the pandemic were women’s, with women comprising the majority of hardest hit industries’ workforces, including food services, retail and entertainment.
While numerous women lost their jobs because of lockdown, many women were forced to relinquish their positions to take care of their children. With the closing of childcare facilities and schools, researchers noted a correlating rise in women’s unemployment. This highlights a larger issue that women are expected to be the predominant child caretakers.
Few men would ever be asked to give up their careers to become full time parents, yet this is still considered normal to ask of women.
During the pandemic, women have on average reported performing more homeschooling and spending more time feeding, bathing and dressing children.
While working mothers are far more common than ever before, social pressures continue to tell mothers they must give up their career aspirations to raise their children; and the pandemic has only heightened and intensified this notion.
Like all systemic issues, COVID-19 has illuminated the inequalities still present in workplaces across the country, along with how culture at large views working women.
In this moment, the rights of working women and mothers must be preserved and strengthened, fighting for a world where women can be viewed as equal in the workplace and at home.
Women Feel Trapped During COVID
The anxiety COVID has placed on everyone is undeniable, and this is especially true of women. Most women have reported greater symptoms of anxiety, sleep issues, and depression during the pandemic, rating higher than men; and if a woman is without a job or is trying to help their child with homeschooling, this stress can be greatly intensified.
Being advised to stay home all day and avoid social gatherings can be very isolating, and millions of women - across class, ethnicity and gender - are coping with the feeling of being “trapped” at home.
Yet more seriously, lockdown has confined many abuse survivors with their assailants. Finding time to seek help has become almost impossible for survivors, with their abusers being in close proximity at all times.
In fact, some regions saw the number of domestic abuse calls drop during lockdown, illuminating the challenge victims face in seeking out help.
Mentally and physically, the pandemic has left many women drained and in need of assistance. As individuals, we must support each other and organizations which are working tirelessly to help survivors in the midst of the pandemic.
This is why Sozy has partnered closely with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), to guarantee survivors access to help during and after the pandemic.
Support Women Now
Gender inequality was very real before the pandemic, however it has only been exasperated during it. While Women’s History Month is a great time to look back at what women of the past have accomplished, this year we must focus on what must still be done for women now.
Right now, women across the country need assistance finding childcare, employment, and means of escaping abusive relationships in lockdown. Yet, as life returns to normal, we must remember that normal is not yet equal.
This Women’s History Month, let’s shift our focus to the harder discussion; what are the issues women are facing today, and what can we do to change them moving forward?
By doing so, we can celebrate the accomplishments of women, while guaranteeing opportunities for the next generation of female figures the world over.
About The Author | Pierson Kubel
Pierson Kubel is a content strategist from Impactree, a social engagement platform making sustainable, measurable action fun and simple.
You might also like:
- We Are a Woman Owned Business
- We Are B Corp Certified. Here's Why.
- We Support Survivors of Domestic Violence Through RAINN
- Power in Numbers: Why We Love 1 Percent for the Planet
- We Are Carbon Neutral. Here's Why.
- 20 Tiny Ways You Can Fight Climate Change
- How To (Actually) Get Involved In Politics Without Losing Friends
- 6 Small Things You Can Do to Be an Ally
- 9 Tiny Ways to Give Back to Your Community
- 3 (Big) Reasons to Choose American Made Clothing