As the global fight against COVID-19 continues to rage on, some health care professionals and other experts have expressed growing concerns about how the virus could disproportionately impact women. Though men and women are equally vulnerable to contracting the virus, there are several reasons the exceptional circumstances surrounding this pandemic might affect women differently.
1. Women Fill More “Essential” Roles
At a time when many businesses deemed “non-essential” have closed their doors altogether or transitioned to allowing their employees to work remotely, women have remained on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus. For example, in the U.S., 91% of nurses are women. Women also tend to be disproportionately represented in other service jobs that are impossible to do from home, such as grocery store and pharmacy employees. In these roles, they are more exposed to people who could be carrying coronavirus.
2. Women Do More Unpaid Caregiver Work
The traditional division of labor in American households has put more of the burden of child and elder care on women’s shoulders. Among heterosexual U.S. couples, wives also do far more cleaning, grocery shopping and meal preparation than their husbands, though most couples agree it would be ideal to have both partners take a proportional share of the work.
In the age of coronavirus, even women who are fortunate enough to have jobs they can do from home must find a way to balance their job responsibilities with homeschooling their children, meal planning, household budgeting, cooking and everyday chores such as laundry.
3. Women Assume More Emotional Labor
On top of household tasks, women also tend to do more emotional labor than men in relationships. The term “emotional labor” can encompass anything from initiating difficult conversations to planning family activities to worrying about a partner’s well-being. Because society expects women to assume the nurturer role in relationships, all these extra tasks leave them with less time and energy to practice self-care.
4. Women Are Experiencing More Coronavirus-Related Stress
According to a poll conducted by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, more women than men responded that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are negatively affecting their mental health. Not only are they worried that they or someone they love will contract the virus, but they also have heightened anxiety over having adequate food, supplies and medications for their family and whether their response to the pandemic will be enough to keep themselves and those they care about safe throughout this crisis.
What to Do If Coronavirus Has Impacted You
Even if you have stayed physically healthy amid the outbreak of COVID-19, your mental well-being could be at a low point. Here are some ways to tell if coronavirus anxieties are affecting you.
- You find yourself checking the news multiple times per day.
- You are more irritable and short-tempered than usual.
- You’re having insomnia or nightmares.
- You’re angry or sad, and feel on edge.
If any of these apply to you, take a mental health break. It’s OK to step away from watching or reading the news if the headlines are upsetting you. Practice healthy coping mechanisms such as meditation, journaling and yoga, and be sure to ask for help when you need it.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in the Age of Coronavirus
Canyon Crossing remains dedicated to our mission of providing accredited women’s-only addiction treatment, even amid the pandemic. In these uncertain times, you can count on us to be here for you. Reach out today to learn more about our services.