At this time when the entire world is learning to cope with COVID-19, people losing their jobs, food and necessities becoming scarce and expensive, COVID cases spiking and thousands of deaths being reported every other day, hope comes especially for women of the world. As we celebrate the International Women’s Day on 8th March, the theme of this year cannot be more apt. “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” where the crucial role played by women in the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is being celebrated.
Many female leaders have been praised for their roles in response to COVID-19, but remain under-represented in decision-making. Women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, representing 54% of overall job losses. The International Women’s Day 2021 aims to highlight the role women have been playing at the forefront of this global health crisis – as health workers and caregivers, community organizers and innovators….the frontliners.
The pandemic has taken a major toll at all levels especially economically. Women have been the most vulnerable from losing their jobs, enduring significant pay cuts, first choice during retrenchment and so on. McKinsey estimates that women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable due to COVID-19 than those of their male counterparts. While women make up 39% of the global workforce, they also account for over half of overall job losses during the pandemic. Moreover, a UN Women report in November 2020 found that while both men and women had seen their unpaid workloads increase during the COVID-19 crisis, women were more likely to increase the amount of time they spend on household chores and caring duties.
The fight for gender equality is more crucial than ever before. It needs to be further stressed upon. We have been fighting and struggling for years for gender equality but the pandemic has dampened a lot of our efforts. We are further behind now than ever before. We urge all women to forge forward with the gender equality agenda in all sectors, not just in the corporate world but in every level of society.
By empowering women, we empower the nation – Debasish Mridha
Happy International Women’s Day 2021!
YBrs Mrs SJ Usha Nandhini
National Wanita MIC Leader
Member of Authority – SEDA Malaysia
Coordinator – Parliament P107 Sg Buloh