By Monika Wiedmann — A pdf copy of this report is available.
As the Covid-19 crisis has developed, our lives have changed and inequalities have been highlighted along the way. Many of the jobs we have come to recognise as key to the functioning of our society are also very poorly paid. These key roles are often filled by women. So many nurses, doctors and carers have to put their own lives at risk, teachers have to split their time between working at school and from home, countless shop assistants make sure we get the goods we need and of course there are others. Should these roles not be remunerated fairly, relative to the importance they have? The Labour party and the unions need to make this happen.
Many women are unable to work during this crisis, which brings its own issues with it. Whether it is for their own safety, or whether it is that the kids need to be looked after, inequality makes its appearance here too. It will be difficult for some of those women to carry on where they left off, to seamlessly slip back into their chosen careers. The Labour party needs to be there to support them.
Academically, too, we see women disadvantaged.
The U.S. feminist magazine ‘The Lily’ writes:
Six weeks into widespread self-quarantine, editors of academic journals have started noticing a trend: Women — who inevitably shoulder a greater share of family responsibilities — seem to be submitting fewer papers. This threatens to derail the careers of women in academia, says Leslie Gonzales, a professor of education administration at Michigan State University, who focuses on strategies for diversifying the academic field: When institutions are deciding who to grant tenure to, how will they evaluate a candidate’s accomplishments during coronavirus?
In fact, men are now submitting 50% more academic papers than women. I see no reason to assume this is much different in the UK. The sudden need to use their time to look after their children 24/7 will have put a stop to many women’s ambitions. How can this be balanced out when we return to relative normality? Will this disadvantage be affecting their chances even then?
Finally, it has been noted that domestic violence has risen considerably in April and while this is also true for men, numbers of women seeking help was much, much higher. The Respect phone line (0808 8024040) has reported an increase of 125% in the first week of April. The Labour party needs to take this to the government and demand more help!
If you are affected by this, I put the national helpline below:
The Freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. There is more sources of help and support listed on our website — https://www.broadlandlabour.org.uk/newsletter/2020/03/29/domestic-abuse-norfolk-police/
So, to finish, let’s not forget: we are the Labour party and together we can change these things!