Covid-19 has been a public health disaster.
It has exacerbated the ill health women and gender-diverse people experienced before the pandemic, and dialed back hard-won gender equality gains. Global research has shown that women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable to the pandemic than men’s jobs, with women’s jobs accounting for the majority of global job losses despite women’s employment making up less than half of global employment.
The pandemic significantly increased the burden of unpaid care work, disproportionately carried out by women. As isolation kicked in, rates of gender-based and family violence increased. Services were stretched and are still running to catch up with the impacts of this crisis. The long-term effects of the pandemic are still unfolding – the costs in economic, health and community cohesion terms – remain unclear but is likely to run into the billions of dollars.
One thing is for sure. We need a proactive approach to combat the backwards steps we’ve seen in gender equality. We need a long-term recovery policy from Covid-19 that takes into account its gendered impact.
We have worked with our peak body, Gender Equity Victoria, our sister Women’s Health Services across the state, and Victorian gender equality specialists to create a collective Victorian state budget bid, calling for innovations that will guard against these concerning trends after a disaster, calling for investments in an economy that centres people’s wellbeing and safety, calling for investment in the creation of jobs, equally, for men, women and gender diverse people.
Our collective pre-budget statement sets out exactly why we need a gender lens on government spending going forward to combat the effect COVID-19 has had on gender equality.
Support us as we call on the Victorian Government to prioritise public health, gender equality and wellbeing in this year’s state budget.
Read the Women’s Health Service Victorian State Budget submission:
Read the Gender Equity Victoria Victorian State Budget submission: