Which Role Should Women/Girls Play in COVID-19
According to the United Nations Women, women make enormous contribution to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, entrepreneurs, or employees and even as far as doing unpaid care work at home. Although Africa includes both low and middle income countries, poverty rates are still high.
As in the case of Cameroon, The majority of women work in low skilled, insecure and poorly paid jobs, limited labour and social protections, exposure to physical and sexual violence with few opportunities for advancement. With the coming of the novel corona virus, women and girls are even more exposed to its claws considering the above vulnerabilities. Therefore, the responsibility rests on their shoulders to rapidly curb or even eradicate the spread of the disease.
Firstly, many more women should be actively involved in politics so as to forge ideas and laws that protects them. Given that Women’s political representation in Cameroon at the national assembly is 31% only 10% of local councilors and 2% of political party leaders, they can come together to implement gender inclusive laws and releases that help them gain better paid jobs and recognition. This can in turn keep children at home from income generating activities that exposes them to contracting the corona virus.
Secondly, many women today are heads of different associations; CIG’s and organizations centered on gender activities and are also involved in peace building. With the new trend, they should use these positions to galvanize support from their partners to cater for those tested positive so that they can be comfortable at the isolation centers with no intention of putting others at risks. Sensitization campaigns and workshops should come up regularly to update the population on new discoveries and preventive measures.
Some grass wood women who deal with both urban and rural women can now have as mission to station wash hand materials at different areas of the town, produce hand sanitizers and distribute to the less privileged population as a preventive measure.
Thirdly, women and girls as health workers (volunteers and primary caregivers) in hospitals should adequately care for patients in hospitals and not cause panic or stigma already when a suspected case is not confirmed.
In addition, women are communicators and are present in different levels of information transmission. They should use these positions to adequately pass out reliable information regarding covid19 to the population to debunk myths and misconceptions. They can invite health personnel on radio programs to disseminate first hand information.
Besides, as housewives, women should strictly monitor the family especially children to respect the basic hygiene methods laid down by the WHO.
Finally. Women and girls as entrepreneurs, traders, farmers and production resources, can best set the example as they enhance and implement the above mentioned points against COVID19 in their respective spheres. And if these can be considered, the women and girls will better champion the fight against the corona virus.
By: Abengho Clenice Ayombom, for RuWCED COVID-19 Challenge 2020