Compassion in the time of COVID-19

By Sarah Pentlow

Everyone has been touched by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in one way or another. But there are some groups for whom the current pandemic is being felt in more acute ways. Women as a whole are disproportionately affected whenever any disaster strikes, and this is no exception.

Economically, women are more likely to be found in precarious forms of labour or positions in the informal economy or as front-line workers, which places them in closer proximity to the virus.

One in three women globally has experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner, which means if they are self-isolating at home, they are at greater risk.

As caregivers, and often the sole custodian of their children, women are facing difficult choices over income versus care versus health.

Now more than ever, it’s important that we not lose our global perspective and sense of solidarity with others. While we are rightly taking measures to isolate and look after those closest to us, we should remember that the same feelings and concerns are being felt around the world.

For the first time ever, humanity is living a collective shared experience of global proportions, and yet the impacts are going to differ depending on whether you live in Canada or Nigeria or if you need to find safer shelter.

Cuso has been working with our country partners to ensure our beneficiaries are receiving the support they need during this time. Where possible, we are creating strategies and tools to monitor and offer support online and by phone.

Let’s use this moment to foster more compassion and solidarity so as to close the gaps of inequality and ensure we all emerge stronger and more resilient when this is over.

Sarah Pentlow works as a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion consultant for Cuso International.