The pandemic brings new gender inequity.


The Covid-19 pandemic has hit women harder than men all over the world. In order to assess its impact on women at the national level, the High Commission for Planning (HCP), in partnership with UN Women, conducted a survey that analyzed the economic, social and psychological situation of households during the period of the crisis. A report bringing together the results of two surveys carried out among households during and after leaving confinement was made public last Wednesday. Entitled “Gender analysis of the impact of the coronavirus on the economic, social and psychological situation of households”, This paper shed light on the gender size withinside the severity of enjoying the disaster and the advantages drawn from the palliative public rules implemented.

Access to health services difficult for female-headed households

Among the main points raised by the report, that of access to health services which was more difficult for households headed by a woman than for households headed by a man during the confinement decreed following the Covid pandemic- 19. “Even before being born, children from families headed by women live in a situation of unequal opportunities made worse by the crisis. The gap in access to reproductive health care between these households is even more significant when they live in rural areas: a difference of 46 percentage points (17% for female heads of households against 63% for heads of households). men), ”says the report. And to explain: “Households headed by men have more means to allow women who come under them to be taken to said units. Likewise, for immunization services, a difference of 17 percentage points is observed, ie respectively 57% against 40% ”. The report underlines, moreover, that when households are classified according to the educational level of the head of household, the disparities are more aggravated. “In the category of households where all members have no education, there are less chances of access to reproductive health services for members of female-headed households (49%) compared to those headed by men (65%), ”notes the report. The explanatory analysis by reference to the results of the modeling of health behaviors shows that other variables also influence the propensity to access care. The existence of employed women in the household, for example, increases the chances of receiving at least one health care, but the relevance of the phenomenon decreases with the increase in the proportion of employed women.

Financial problems affect women more than men

The financial situation of women deteriorated during the health crisis due to their vulnerable position in the labor market. According to the report, households headed by women at the time of the crisis declared wages as the main source of income. They represent 18% of the total number of households headed by a woman against 25.5% among those headed by men. The difference between men and women is explained by the nature of the positions that the latter occupy which are “less important” than those of men. Thus, in a crisis situation, they are the first to be sacrificed, underlines the report. “The disparities between female heads of household and male heads of household appear when we consider the sectors, in agriculture (17% against 13%) and in commerce (12% against 6%).
By socio-professional categories, 25% of senior executives who are female heads of household state that their financial situation has deteriorated, compared with only 21.4% of male heads of household. Among middle managers, 50% of female heads of household against 44.4% of male heads of household state that their financial situation has deteriorated. And note that during the crisis, more men said they were using their savings to meet their expenses (26% against 16% for women). These proportions are respectively 14% for female heads of household and 23% for male heads of household, in urban areas, and 30.1 and 21.9% in rural areas. In terms of indebtedness, the overall difference is not significant: 13.3% for households headed by women and 13.6% for those headed by men.

Distance education: a real ordeal for girls

According to the report, households made up of girls only who are unable to follow or only partially follow distance learning courses amount to 22.3% at primary level and 22.1% at middle school. These frequencies are respectively 21.1 and 16% for households made up of boys only. In households made up of both girls and boys, the prevalence of non-follow-up (18.8% in primary and 13.2% in middle school) becomes lower than in the case where there are only girls . “The discrepancies observed are mainly due to the channels used for the monitoring of distance courses, including social networks, digital platforms and television channels,” the report said, noting that a large number of children belonging to headed households by a woman do not attend distance learning courses. Thus, when the highest level of education in the household corresponds to middle school, 33.7% of children enrolled in primary school do not attend classes in households headed by a woman, 22.4% for those headed by a man. . For children enrolled in college, the prevalence of non-attendance of courses are respectively 31 and 21%, says the report. Regarding the reason for not taking distance learning courses, nearly half (46%) of female heads of household state that they lack the means or tools to allow distance education of their children enrolled at primary level, against 43 , 5% for male heads of household. From the point of view of household composition, 79% of households composed only of women explain the irregularity or absence of course attendance by the lack of means and teaching tools, against 48.6% when less one third of the household is female.

Women overloaded with household chores during confinement

During sanitary confinement, 27% of women said they were overloaded with household chores that concern the entire household, against 9% of men. “Reconciling household chores and work has been more difficult for women due to the increased burden of responsibilities within the household,” the report explains. Women living in households with three children are more likely to report having difficulty reconciling professional activity and domestic work (31% against 18% for households without children), adds the same source. By place of residence, it emerges that it was more difficult for senior managers in rural areas, compared to their urban counterparts, to reconcile domestic tasks with professional work (57 and 28%), as well as for employees (47.5 and 26%). On the other hand, for farmers, the difficulties are less accentuated for rural women, i.e. a percentage of 21%, notes the report, explaining that in the exercise of agriculture, the main activity in rural areas, women have the habit of reconciling agricultural and domestic chores. “It therefore appears that despite the confinement which has led the men to also stay at home, they have generally not helped the women whose tasks to be performed have increased, because the children no longer go to school. », Observes the same source.

Psychological effects, more serious in women

Women heads of household have suffered more than their male counterparts from the impact of the health crisis on their family relations, their psychological state and their behavior. The main consequences of the psychological effects of Covid-19 on households are anxiety, sleep disorders, fear and obsessive behavior, specifies the gender analysis report of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic, social and psychological situation of households. However, female heads of household suffer more from obsessive behavior (33.3%) than their male counterparts (23.6%), fear (46.8% compared to 39.5% for male heads of household) and sleep disorder (26.4% versus 22.9%), the report highlights. Compared to the interruption of family visits, it appears that households with a female head of household (37%) are more affected than those of men (34%). This observation is confirmed much more in the rural environment where the affectation by the breaking of family visits concerns 35% for female heads of household against 26% for male heads of household. Depending on the standard of living, this gap between women and men heads of households is more pronounced when they belong to the middle and well-off class, the report reveals. In connection with the explanation of the psychological state, the report notes disparities in the measures taken in the workplace for protection against the virus. Overall, one in four workers say that no action is taken at their workplace (26%). However, this proportion is 25% for men and 31% for women. It therefore seems that women exercise more precarious activities (or sectors) in order to have the means to take protective measures. They were therefore relatively more exposed to the risk of contracting the virus, adds the same source.

Women suffered more from overcrowding in housing

During sanitary confinement, 21% of women against 16.4% of men said they suffered from overcrowding in housing more often, according to the report. “The econometric analysis has confirmed that being a female head of household increases the possibility of declaring to suffer psychological consequences or even to suffer from conflicts inherent in promiscuity”, specifies the report, indicating that the concern is greater. when in households only women are employed workers. Thus, living in an urban environment increases the probability not only of declaring to suffer psychological consequences, but also that of experiencing conflicts due to promiscuity, underlines the same source, noting that the same applies when the number of people per room in housing is greater than 3. The density of the urban population compared to the rural area explains these results, notes HCP. The survey also reveals that having severe difficulties in meeting financial commitments goes with reporting psychological consequences and increases the risk of worry and conflict. On the other hand, having conflicts within the household increases the propensity to suffer psychological consequences, notes the report, specifying that these transitive causalities attest that women have suffered more from the Covid-19 pandemic than men. In addition, the report highlights that women say they are more “very worried” in the event of the appearance of a new wave and are more so than men (36.8% against 31.4%).

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