COVID-19 has undeniably changed the world as we know it.
People’s lives have been uprooted, lives have been lost, jobs have been lost and everything that we thought was ‘normal’ has changed. Not only that, but this pandemic has also highlighted the stark inequalities that exist in our everyday lives, both globally and on a local level. COVID-19 has brought to the forefront issues of class, race and gender in ways we cannot ignore.
Although COVID-19 has not discriminated with who it infects, the loss of life has been much greater in Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities,* while the richest are less likely to catch COVID-19 because of their lifestyles and the type of jobs they hold. More men have been dying during this pandemic, but girls and women have been disproportionately affected by it.
Some of the key issues that girls have faced during this time are:
- Greater burden of domestic and care work
- Higher rates of job losses
- Reduced financial independence and future prospects
- Increased risk of pregnancy related deaths and teen pregnancies
- Increased risk as front-line health workers
- Spikes in sexual, physical and domestic violence and exploitation
- Reduced access to vital health services
- Loss of education
The effects of this pandemic on girls and other vulnerable groups have been huge and widespread and may have consequences for the rest of our lives. As the world starts to come out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to create a new, more equal world. Will it be cleaner? Safer? More respectful? This is a moment in time that is unique and special, a chance to really make a change in the world.
I, for one, do not want the world to go back to normal post-COVID. I believe we have been given a chance here – a real chance to change the world for the better. As society is tested and reshaped, it’s crucial we build a different kind of world for girls, for people of colour and for all those who are marginalised. It is imperative that we build a new world where ALL people are seen, heard and valued as equals.
These are some of the hopes I have for society post Covid-19:
- I hope for a society in which women are represented in key decision-making positions.
- I hope that healthcare for all becomes a more standard practice, funded by governments as a human right rather than reliant on private insurance.
- I hope for a more equal society for people of all races, where no-one has to fear for their life because of the colour of their skin.
- I hope that parents and families will reevaluate what is happening in their own homes and adjust their practices to be more gender equal.
- I hope we will live in a cleaner, more environmentally friendly world.
I know what kind of world I want post COVID-19, but do you? Visit our Podcast page on Anchor, and click the ‘Message’ button to leave a voicemail telling us how you would like to see the world change for the better: https://anchor.fm/girlspeak
Tia Shah, Contributing Writer