Gender & COVID - Part I: IWD21 in retrospect

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

2021: I really DID have high hopes for this year - not that I thought COVID would be over, but I hoped that we would be coming over the hill for it at least.

And then... on a global scale, aside from COVID, we saw so much happen in the first three months of the year, alone.



There was the:

  • Venezuelan Humanitarian and Refugee Crisis / Jan 18, 2021

  • U.S. Civil Unrest / Jan 21, 2021

  • Sulawesi (Indonesia) Earthquake / Jan 28, 2021

  • Rohingya Refugee Crisis / Jan 29, 2021

  • Yemen Humanitarian Crisis / Feb 9, 2021.


And the situation in Myanmar was getting more convoluted by the day, as we watched the situation unfold since Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest after the February 1 coup.


 

How about a little closer to home?


At the Pacific level, given March was still cyclone season (1 November to 30 April), we had already had four disturbances that intensified into tropical depressions, forming in the South Pacific region, with Ana and Bina intensifying into tropical cyclones. On the first of March, Lucas also affected New Caledonia and Vanuatu.


Climate Change: Pacific governments call for urgent action on disaster displacement in light of the climate crisis


 

And on a personal level...

... we had more tragic deaths in my family, in the first two months of the year than the whole of 2020 combined.



On a global scale, personal issues pale in comparison - but didn't someone say 'Comparison is the thief of all joy'? And isn't this just comparing tragedies? Not having that.


So be all that as it may, March is always my favorite month of the whole entire year because it's not only my birthday month, but it's also the month International Women's Day (IWD) falls.

  • Fun [somber] fact? COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic on my birthday last year. That will still never dim my joy.


So focus is certainly necessary to try and retain perspective.


Given March also contained IWD [March 8], I thought we should take a look at how the world, and certainly, our country has evolved in the gender space - in my opinion, of course.


This year's IWD theme was "Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world".


In the United States, Kamala Harris spoke about how two and a half million women have left the workforce during the COVID pandemic, calling it a 'national emergency'. See a portion of what she said, here.


In Indonesia, adaptive measures were taken to manage the diverse (and context- specific) impacts of the pandemic - that the rest of the world can still take lessons from. See full blog here.


And here in Solomon Islands, one of the popular hashtags was #ChooseToChallenge.


So what should we be challenging?


  • Gender norms?

  • Societal norms?

  • Institutional norms?


I'd like to explore that a little further in a separate blog. Please see here for the next one in this series.




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