Friday, May 22, 2020

Announcing "Gendering Pandemic" A New CPE Research and Capacity Building Project

The Coalition for Peace and Ethics is pleased to announce a new research and capacity building project: Gendering Pandemic.   The project will be undertaken by members of the CPE Working Group on Gender, Human Rights, and Sustainability under the leadership of Arianna Backer. 

The Press Release follows:

From the beginning of reporting on the COVID-19 Pandemic, significant gendered elements began to emerge.  Initial reporting suggested that though infection rates were the same irrespective of sex, men tended die at higher rates.  At the same time early data from China suggested that the medical staff treating COVID-19 patients were overwhelmingly women. "Travel restrictions cause financial challenges and uncertainty for mostly female foreign domestic workers, many of whom travel in southeast Asia between the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Singapore." (Wenham, Smith, and Morgan, "COVID-19: the gendered impacts of the outbreak," The Lancet 395(10227):846-848 (on behalf of the Gender and COVID-19 Working Group)). The gendered implications vary from state to state, they affect women differently depending on their connection to global production.  Women in Bangladesh heavily dependent on global supply chains in the garment sector will be affected by the lockdowns in Europe and the Western Hemisphere causing a cancellation of orders by Western brand. Women in tourist dependent regions of the Caribbean will be affected by the closing of national borders in specific ways.  In the United States the gendered implications of pandemic intersect with issues of race, ethnicity, and class.

The intersected implications of quarantine can be seen, for instance in the move to remote work for people in the service sector and in the requirement that essential workers (medical staff, police, fire, retail associates) continue in high disease exposure work environments. "ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, says “the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the always essential role of the working heroes of this pandemic. People who are usually invisible, unconsidered, undervalued, even ignored. Health and care workers, cleaners, supermarket cashiers, unpaid carers in their homes and communities – a large majority of women, frequently migrant workers, too often numbered among the working poor and the insecure.”" (Sampson, "Ahead of G7 Leaders’ Summit, Lobbyists Pressing for Gender Equality Amid COVID-19 Crisis," The News Chronicle (via MSN News, 21 May 2020)). The issues are exacerbated in developing states (Magalhaes, Bube, and Lewis, "Brazil’s Nurses Are Dying as Covid-19 Overwhelms Hospitals" The Wall Street Journal (19 May 2020) ("At least 116 nurses have died in this country of 210 million from Covid-19, according to Brazil’s Federal Nursing Council—the highest toll anywhere. ")). In most places, "child care, elderly care, and housework typically fall on women. Concerns over increased domestic violence are growing. With health services overstretched and charities under-resourced, women's sexual and reproductive health services, as well as prenatal and postnatal care, are disrupted." (Editorial. The Lancet 395(10231):1168 (April 11, 2020)). Powerful organizations have taken up the political implications of these dimensions both within states and in the international sphere ("Putting a Gendered Lens on COVID-19," Forbes (17 April 2020). 

Much of the initial focus on gendered pandemic has focused on the great macro issues and has driven necessarily essentialized macro policy. Much work remains to be done, however, at the micro level.  Grand policy is important, certainly, but the gendered dimensions of pandemic on individual lives of women, women deeply embedded in individualized ecologies of relationships that are familial, economic, societal, and communal, remains to be done,.  Likewise, the intersection of gendered implication with those of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and the like remains largely untouched. How do women navigate the usual balancing of work, home, and communal life under unusual conditions?  How does the intersection of race, ethnicity, age, and scarcity affect gender solidarity; how are women helping each other, with special reference to women within large and small enterprises?  How does gender sensitivity translate into decision making where women hold positions of authority and may exercise substantial discretion that affects women who continue to hold traditionally more contingent roles in business? Who does one frame a metrics for framing a means of accountability with respect to gender policies in business during conditions of pandemic?

The CPE Working Group on Gender, Human Rights, and Sustainability will focus on the lives of women in these contexts--granular, intimate, singular, and interconnected. Their work will be aligned with human rights and sustainability norms. It will focus on issues of women from the workplace as a hub that impacts women's lives generally. Realized through a series of focused local projects, the Working Group's object is to develop tool kits for helping women navigate the sometimes complex and subtle gendered challenges of the workplace; how women can augment cultures that avoid inadvertent undermining of women's roles in work, and to begin to develop a data driven approach to provide a means of holding those with responsibility accountable. 

The project will be undertaken by members of the CPE Working Group on Gender, Human Rights, and Sustainability under the leadership of Arianna Backer. With years in the non-profit and private sectors, Arianna Felice Backer has experience in research and development methodology, strategic implementation, team-building, and management. Arianna Felice holds an MPIA from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the University of Pittsburgh, with a concentration in International Political Economy. Kobe University, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies in Japan, awarded Arianna the Graduate Certificate in International Development.  Currently, Arianna devotes her time to process analysis, reimagine what institutions are already doing in ways that bring different perspectives to the table. She is a passionate Board Member and founder of an employee resource group whose mission is women's equality and equity.

No comments: