Titled “COVID-19 and Gender Inequalities,” the study highlights efforts of the unsung heroines on the pandemic’s frontlines.
COVID-19 has shed light on the gender inequalities that Moroccan women and girls regularly undergo. While in quarantine, many women found themselves at the mercy of violent husbands, fathers, and brothers. They are on their own, left to an uncertain fate, and often without any financial support. Making matters worse, many of them work in the economically vulnerable informal sector due to the lack of other opportunities.
Moroccans can observe discriminatory practices in a plethora of fields: Education, training, hiring and remuneration, job promotion, horizontal mobility, the rigidity of working conditions, and lack of access to productive resources. The unequal sharing of family responsibilities is considered a source of stress.
This stress has increased tenfold with the global pandemic that threatens to widen the chasm of socio-economic precariousness. This state of stress extends to all sectors of activity, especially in the medical and paramedical sector where women are facing, on a daily basis, a microscopic but mighty enemy.
Certain categories of workers are particularly endangered by the COVID-19 crisis, such as medical personnel and paramedical staff, as well as support teams, composed of surface technicians, housekeepers, and cooks, to name a few. Women comprise the majority of these workers in Morocco and worldwide. A World Health Organization (WHO) report states that 70% of medical staff in the 104 countries analyzed are women.
Women in the medical sector are often most likely to be exposed to epidemics, particularly COVID-19. Furthermore, they face double stress because of their specific roles at home and at work. Even though they are underrepresented at the national and international decision-making levels, and in the management of the coronavirus epidemic.
AFDP’s upcoming publication
The Women for Diversity and Peace Association (AFDP) will publish later in June a sociological study about COVID-19 and gender inequalities in the medical sector, conducted by gender expert Nadia Ramdani. The study, titled “COVID-19 and Gender Inequalities,” is based on facts mentioned above and alarming observations.
Ramdani’s examinations focus on three questions: Are professional women in health and support teams, who are facing COVID-19, effectively protected? What about their compensation and their social security, can we talk about economic justice here? Do they share their experiences through the media? In other words, the study will examine to what extent women in health sectors have a voice in decision-making and health policies.
The study employs a research methodology based on the collection of data disaggregated by gender from existing official sources, official institutions, civil society organizations, as well as staff from public hospitals. A gender analysis with sex-disaggregated data aims to identify gender inequalities while integrating the collected testimonies.
By tackling this issue, the organization aims to inform public opinion and raise public awareness. They also hope to influence public policies by highlighting inequalities in the sector. Bringing these unsung heroines to light by highlighting their efforts in the media is considered a cornerstone in the path towards gender equality.
The study’s goal is to educate the public about gender stereotypes that specifically affect professional women in the medical field and support teams in Morocco, while focusing on one aspect — the media — and the unequal representation of their work within the public narrative. The initiative aims to make women and their professional, social, and economic contributions visible in the media.