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Gender & COVID - Part II: The 'Intentional Invisibility Syndrome'

In my previous blog, I spoke of International Women's Day (or IWD) in retrospect and the changes that have happened this year alone.

They seem scattered and without a collective link, but I promise I bring it all together in this blog series - or at least my thought processes to reaching this opinion on gender in this COVID impacted time - and we can agree, or agree to disagree.

So to start, there's a saying - that privilege is invisible to those who have it.

That's true - because, privilege is not just about the perks - it's about the absence of obstacles. See below for the Twitter thread by Marie Beecham, that I think both contextualizes and encapsulates this the best.

Still can't picture it? Maybe a visual representation of social inequality then (although I highly disagree with it) - watch the video here.

The basics of this 'obstacle' race was for American colleges students to get a $100. If they answered 'Yes' to a few questions - they could take two steps forward; and if their answer was 'No', they stayed where they were.

The logic was that you were privileged if you kept moving forward, and unprivileged if you did not move.

Why do I disagree with this concept?

Some of these questions were:

  • "Take two steps forward if...":

  • You never had to help your mum or dad with the bills;

  • You grew up with a father figure in the home;

  • You never wondered where your next meal was going to come from;

  • Both your parents are still married...

Privilege in itself, is complex, yes - but I think those questions limit the credibility of the definition. The video captures 'disadvantage', not privilege and I think that's a completely different playing field.

Contextualising privilege

In the Solomon Islands, I work in development, where our programs try to reach communities and people living in varying states of poverty. Many of the disadvantages outlined in the video are daily occurrences in the lives of an average Solomon Islander.

The intent of the programs I've worked on are not to give marginalized groups privilege, but to help give neglected or specific groups their basic rights.

Giving a