“In most cultures, the bulk of home
responsibilities falls on the woman -
even if both partners are working.”
1. Healthcare and domestic workers
Globally, women make up 70 per cent of the frontline healthcare workforce.
Not only does this increase their risk of infection, but it also leaves women more vulnerable to abuse, intimidation and harassment at times of uncertainty and stress - like the current pandemic.
In Timor-Leste, nurses and midwives are predominantly women. With schools closed across the country, many mothers are reorganising their schedules and covering one another’s shifts in order to care for their children.
“Women are definitely affected,” says Gaurav Sharma, UNICEF Timor-Leste Health Manager.
“In most cultures, the bulk of home responsibilities falls on the woman - even if both partners are working.”
Globally, women and girls also make up the vast majority of other frontline workers including cleaners, laundry and catering workers as well as domestic migrant workers. These roles tend to be short-term, part-time or casual contracts without access to protective measures such as health benefits or superannuation. These are significant power imbalances that put many women and girls at particular physical, emotional and financial risk.
On top of this, women around the world are also dealing with the challenges of menstruation while working long hours with infrequent bathroom breaks and shortages in menstrual hygiene products. This points to a lack of understanding and consideration of what female workers need, despite making up the majority of the workforce.