COVID-19 increases unpaid care work on women and girls – Research

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COVID-19 increases unpaid care work on women and girls – Research.

 

The emergence of the COVID-19 disease has increased unpaid care work on Ghanaians particularly, women and girls, a baseline survey conducted in two Districts in the Upper East Region has revealed.

The research conducted in the Nabdam and Bolgatanga East districts by the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), a gender focused NGO, revealed that COVID-19 with its associated restrictions and safety protocols had increased the unpaid care workload of women and girls in various households.

The research was conducted with support from the Plan International Ghana under its Women’s Voice and Leadership in Ghana project with financial support from the Global Affairs Canada.

The findings copied to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga by Ms Patricia Ayichuru, the Project Officer, WOM, stated that the baseline survey was conducted as part of a project that aimed at contributing to redistributing unpaid care work in the pursuit of gender equality and women’s rights.

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It said the findings from the research provided critical information regarding awareness and behaviour of some people especially in the rural area in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strong emphasis on improving hygiene.

“However, what has often been under-emphasized, even ignored, is, “who will perform the requisite care work?” With little exception, it is women who disproportionately bear the brunt of providing unpaid care work.”

The research noted that out of a total of 339 respondents, made up of 209 females and 130 males who participated in the survey on awareness of COVID-19 and gender in the two districts, 146 out of the 209 females representing 65.2 per cent experienced increased in unpaid care work especially in the provision of water as hygiene required constant use of water.

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“This was nearly double the increase in the provision of unpaid care work performed by males. Of the 130 males who participated in the study, 78 representing 34.8 per cent of them observed an increase in unpaid care work,”

It said although the findings revealed most of the men expressed willingness to support in the provision of unpaid care work in households, it was imperative for such care work in the households to be shared among men and women to help reduce the burden on women.

The research further revealed that majority of the people in the area had information and education on COVID-19 and its related issues from the social media, listening to radio and watching television.

The baseline revealed that 38.3 per cent preferred radio as their source of information regarding COVID-19, 23.6 per cent preferred television and 14.5 had their information through public education and announcements.

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The findings therefore recommended that the use of radio should be prioritized in disseminating COVID-19 adherence and behavior change communication.

“Increase the use of social media for behavior change communication focused on men, especially for men between the ages of 18 to 25 and 26 to 35 age ranges and priority should be given to developing behavior change communication content in collaboration with creativity from the target populations.

“Focus the majority of interventions on populations in the 18 to 25 and 26 to 35 age ranges. Identify and groom gender equality champions from within these age groups and work with them to disseminate behavior change communication messages,” it added.