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Women in Quarantine: from overload to violence #We Are Together

We started the year 2020 in a very difficult way. The coronavirus pandemic that is spreading around the world can change the way we relate. As countries around the world seek social isolation to avoid the collapse of health systems and the loss of thousands of lives, we see our president minimizing the seriousness of the disease and putting the interests of profit above the lives of the people. It is important to state, however, that covid-19 has distinct impacts on different segments of society. Just as the black population will be the main impacted by the effects of the new coronavirus, women will suffer acutely from the results of this serious health, economic, political and social crisis.

Poverty in Brazil is female and black. According to IBGE, women have wages on average 27.1% lower than men and occupy much fewer wage jobs – 45.6% for them and 64.3% for them. In addition, 63% of the heads of households in Brazil who are below the poverty line are black women. This means that it will be these women who will find it most difficult to pay the bills and feed their families as the economic crisis deepens. Many will go out on the streets risking their lives to try to put food on the table. In this way, it is essential to guarantee the employment of these women during this period and to maintain their wages in full. The Bolsonaro government, however, is moving in the opposite direction of this need by presenting Provisional Measures such as 927 and 936, which further precarious labor rights.

Although the approval of basic emergency income in Congress was an important achievement, especially the guarantee of 1200 reais for single mothers, the population still has great difficulty in accessing this benefit. This is largely because the Bolsonaro government shows no commitment to the survival of the population. Its only concerns are its popularity rates between its support base and the survival of the profits of big capital.

Another significant change for women in the face of social isolation comes from the fact that they usually devote almost twice as many hours to household chores per week as men. In families that are managing to maintain social isolation, women will have even more domestic work with the accumulation of dirty dishes, more meals inside the house, and more frequent cleaning of rooms. In addition, they will often have to balance these tasks with the home office, which breaks the limits of business hours making us work even harder. The situation is aggravated by the presence of children in the home: the demand for attention and care is permanent and often the responsibility for the children’s educational tasks (virtual classes, homework, readings) falls on the mother.

In combination with the points discussed above, social isolation has intensified the most severe expressions of machism. Frustration, economic insecurity and increased alcohol consumption serve as engines for domestic violence and feminicide. To make matters worse, many women are locked up 24 hours a day with their aggressors. In China, reports of violence against women tripled during confinement, in France domestic violence increased by 32% and in the Brazilian city with the highest number of covid-19 cases, São Paulo, the increase was already 20%.

It is of paramount importance that governments take effective measures to combat the significant increase in macho violence. The importance of the greater publicity of Call 180 is incontestable, but it must be taken into account that women in situations of violence may have difficulties in making a connection without reprisals from the aggressor. It is therefore necessary to make other avenues of denunciation possible, such as virtual channels or even alternatives such as the one created in France, where secret passwords have been created in pharmacies so that women can ask for help.

In addition to the need to facilitate denunciation routes, it is essential to guarantee an increase in the number of places in shelters and facilities for women in violent situations, as proposed by our fellow congresswoman Sâmia Bomfim. In addition, it is more necessary than ever to root out the fight against machism. We must multiply initiatives such as debates, the organisation of solidarity networks, information materials and other initiatives that help to tackle violence.

It was in this sense that the Collective Juntas! launched the campaign #We Are Together. In addition to public services for women victims of violence, we are organizing a network of volunteers and activists to develop more mechanisms to combat such violence.

Finally, we must not forget that women are the vast majority of health workers. 70% of all health workers in the world are women, who are at the forefront of the fight against covid-19. It is these workers who suffer most from the overload of services and are most exposed to contamination. Thus, it is essential that the feminist movement takes the defense of the SUS for itself, with the increase of funds, the hiring of personnel and the provision of personal protection for the workers.

Again, we see women fighting for life, in front of several new forms of self-organization of the people, while the Bolsonaro government defends above all the interests of capital. Therefore, it is also essential that the feminist movement fight for the impeachment of the man who is murdering the Brazilian people. # Outs Bolsonaro

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Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder