As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose lockdowns all over the world, feminist organizations are swiftly adapting to this new reality. The pandemic is presenting its own set of challenges for women in terms of work-life balance, violence, labor rights, etc. And feminists are on the look out for all the ways COVID-19 is affecting women and girls, trying to call attention to their specific needs and building networks of solidarity.
By following feminist organizations on social media (mainly English speaking Twitter), there were quite a few communication materials that caught my attention and I thought it would be good to share it with other interested feminists.
I usually prefer to follow grassroots groups and women’s organizations, so this blog post is not about the communication of UN Women or big international NGOs. It’s mostly focused on smaller-scale women’s organizations and what they feel is important to communicate about during COVID-19.
Without further ado, here is a sample of feminist communication trends in times of pandemic:
- FocusING on the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls
Almost all feminist organizations have stressed the danger of lockdowns for victims of violence against women and girls, particularly intimate partner violence. This trend only increased when UN Secretary General António Guterres recognized that home is one of the most dangerous places for women and called for an end to conflict – both at war and at home.
Many feminist groups are now calling for more funding and resources to women’s shelters and for effective measures to prevent violence and protect women and girls.
- SHEDDING LIGHT UPON WOMEN IN VULNERABLE SITUATIONS:
What I mean by women in vulnerable in situations includes (but is not limited to):
– Refugee and migrant women
– Women in prostitution
– Homeless women
– Domestic workers
From webinars to open letters and Twitter Chats, feminists are making sure to #LeaveNoOneBehind.
- SUPPORTING HEALTH WORKERS
Most health workers are women, especially those working as nurses, auxiliaries, midwives, etc. So its no wonder so many feminist groups are focusing on supporting health workers and highlighting the key role of women in the COVID-19 response.
It is also a good fit with this year’s World Health Day theme, which was “to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy” and the campaign was widely shared through the hashtags #SupportNursesAndMidwives and #COVID19.
- CALLING FOR FEMINIST PEACE
Before Guterres called for an end to violence against women and girls at home, the UN issued a statement demanding a global cease fire. Women’s organization working on Women, Peace and Security like the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom immediately took action to ensure women’s voices and perspectives were valued in the process. They published a series of articles about COVID-19 which are really worth reading!
- sharing lists of resources
Many women’s groups have been gathering important feminist materials on the pandemic and also strategies of self-care during isolation.
Here are some examples:
– Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy’s list of feminist resources on the pandemic
– Ruhama’s Isolation Resources
– Dr. Rama Dieng (@SaalaJeng) thread about what feminist Global South thinkers have to say about COVID-19
These are just a few recourses which have caught my attention so far. Depending on how long this lockdown lasts, I expect to be writing another similar blog post soon with more trends of feminist communication in times of pandemic.