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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The pandemic’s effect on women


The toll of domestic violence and unemployment

Women are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through increased rates of domestic violence and unemployment, yet there has been little support shown for them. 

The increase in domestic violence during the pandemic, also referred to as The Shadow Pandemic, resulted in one in three women worldwide facing physical or sexual violence by a member of their household. Women are being isolated, and abusers feel a loss of power due to economic instability and stress, which leads to a combination that can lead to more frequent and severe abuse.

It is probable that these rates do not capture the total increase in domestic violence. As stay at home orders have been put in place, many women do not feel like it is safe to call for help, which limits the number of reports.  

Although stay at home orders are necessary, they force women to be at home with their abusers, with little chance to escape physical, emotional and mental violence. The pandemic has strained several resources, including important services such as helplines and domestic violence shelters. 

While women facing domestic abuse desperately need counseling, legal advice, health services and refuge more than ever, the barriers caused by the pandemic give abusers a sense of impunity to act without restraint. 

These services are even harder to reach for Black Indigenous and women of color (BIWOC), and women working and living in the U.S. without legal permission. These women experience higher rates of poverty, limited job resources and fear of deportation. In some cases, there are normalized beliefs that reinforce patriarchal elements and legitimacy of abuse. 

In addition to being more susceptible to domestic violence, women are disproportionately impacted by unemployment rates and are losing their jobs at a higher rate than men. From February 2020 to January 2021, more than 2.5 million women left the labor force, compared to 1.8 million men. 

When schools and day cares closed at the beginning of the pandemic, many working mothers had to become the sole source of child care. But even now as schools start to open, there is still the possibility of school closures if COVID-19 cases increase. Working mothers have unpredictable schedules, making it difficult to figure out when they can work in a job market where getting hired at all is hard enough. 

Once again, BIWOC are at an even greater disadvantage. Industries where BIWOC are disproportionately represented, such as hospitality and food services, have been hit extremely hard. Women of color are also less likely to have large amounts of wealth or savings to rely on when not working for extended periods of time, due to preexisting inequities. 

Many women, most of whom are BIWOC , are stuck in a cycle of abuse and/or financial difficulties and need help breaking out of it. There are places to donate to help this cause, even in our own community.

Women Against Abuse(WAA) is an organization in Philadelphia that serves to help women experiencing abuse. WAA offers resources such as safe havens, counseling, legal advice and more, to ensure that women have a way to leave abusive situations. Women in Transition is another organization in Philadelphia that helps women to find ways to leave abusive households by offering housing and job information, peer support and community resources. 

The coronavirus pandemic’s effects on women are incredibly damaging, and should not be ignored. Ignoring these issues will further perpetuate the cycle of violence and leave these women struggling alone.  


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