Gender Roles in the Time of COVID-19

In this blog, we talk regularly about the way gender roles operate in the world and especially in the United States.  We get curious about what’s going on and we wonder about the causal impacts.  We engage with a wide range of folks who hold diverse opinions about all sorts of topics.  The current COVID-19 pandemic offers another opportunity for us to talk about gender and to make intellectual and practical connections.

According to a recent New York Times article, Why Women May Face a Greater Risk of Catching Coronavirus“Around the world, women make up a majority of health care workers, almost 70 percent according to some estimates, and most of them occupy nursing roles — on the front lines of efforts to combat and contain outbreaks of disease.”

Globally, women still provide the majority of caregiving to children, elderly parents, and sick family members.  In the medical field they often work as nurses who have more exposure to patients than doctors because they engage in more sustained, intimate contact.  

Women also experience economic hardships differently than men because of they make up a large percentage of the “gig economy” and part time labor force.  

We saw these gendered exposures during the SARS and Ebola outbreaks.  We’re seeing it again today.    

What can we learn about the ways that humans operate in their lives that can help us strategize about diseases and medical treatment now and for our future?  Here’s our opportunity to get curious about gender during a pandemic. 

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