Melinda Gates warned this week that the new crown pandemic will affect not only women’s health around the world, but also economic opportunities,media CNET reported. Melinda Gates made this point in an article for Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, in which she discusses how epidemics and diseases such as AIDS, the Zika virus and Ebola virus can cost women around the world in a variety of ways, from interfering with access to prenatal and post-natal care to increasing the burden of unpaid work related to home care.
“When they cause infection, they expose and exploit existing marginalized forces to find gender, race, and class fault lines,” Melinda wrote.
Melinda, a co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and venture capital firm Pivotal Ventures, has spoken on gender issues in the past. In October 2019, she pledged to spend $1 billion over the next 10 years on advancing gender equality. In August 2019, she launched the “Equality Can’t Wait” campaign, which involved a number of comedians, stressing that it would take 208 years to achieve gender equality (economicand and otherwise) without intervention.
Gates talked about how the disease affects women, even if they are not actually infected. For example, in some low- and middle-income countries, fewer women than men have access to mobile phones and the Internet, which can be a barrier to everything from continuing online education to accessing mobile bank accounts. Because women may be smaller than men and earn less than men, they may not be able to obtain government loans.
On the health front, Melinda says the overburdened health care system can make it harder for pregnant women to get the care they need. On the job front, she says, women are about 1.8 times more likely to have their jobs cut during the recession than men, and now, with schools and nurseries no longer an option, women may have to leave their jobs to take on the responsibility of caring for their families.
Among these concerns, Melinda also points to actions that can be taken to address some of these issues, such as employers providing flexible working hours, and government policies that take into account women’s needs – such as ensuring that women-owned businesses receive assistance and benefits.
“If policymakers ignore the way the disease and its effects affect men and women differently, they risk prolonging the crisis and slowing economic recovery,” she wrote. “