The coronavirus pandemic has shown once again that women are on the front lines — and last in line when it comes to receiving much-needed, hard-earned relief and support. COVID-19 is exposing the long-standing gaps that run through our societies and health-care systems, as well as the abysmal state of affairs in the world of work. Women, always amongst the most vulnerable, are shouldering the bulk of the burden, particularly as they make up a huge proportion of health-care workers, putting them at greater risk of infection. At the same time, long-standing gender inequalities in unpaid work mean women also bear the brunt of the challenges that arise at home due to the closure of schools and childcare facilities. In many countries, particularly in the Global South, women are poorly remunerated, often with an informal employment status that puts them at greater risk of losing their jobs and incomes due to the drastic labour and market shocks triggered by the pandemic. They also face a heightened risk of violence, exploitation, abuse or harassment in times of crisis and quarantine.
The global FES project “The Future is Feminist” has been developed hand-in-hand with our friends and partners from the Global South, who have provided vital input concerning regional feminist perspectives on the future of work. Working closely together, we have developed a campaign on care work and social reproduction: Care to Join Us? When it was first devised, the world had not yet heard of COVID-19; even then, however, there was an urgent need to change how social reproduction and care work are organised. Through this campaign, we renew our solidarity with care workers, both paid and unpaid, a huge number of whom are women. Highlighting the relations between production, reproduction and capitalism, the campaign links this universal issue with the diverse experiences that women care workers face in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the MENA region. In shaping the future of work, it is vital to recognise, reduce and redistribute the unfair, disproportionate burden of unpaid care and domestic work.
Let’s seize this opportunity to reimagine a world after COVID-19 that includes feminist visions and values. Care to join us? Share and support this campaign. For more informations, please visit our Facebook page, Instagram and the web page of the global project "The future is feminist".