WISCAR Launches COVID-19 Impact Report

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Amina Oyagbola

Kingsley Aliamaka

A non-profit organisation focused on empowering and developing women in their professions, Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR), has deployed a survey to investigate as well as gain a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on working women.

The group is also identifying the female perspective on the effects of the government directive of the lockdown and social distancing occasioned by the pandemic.

The survey, according to WISCAR, also sought to understand women’s perspectives around socio-economic impacts on livelihoods, security and mental health.

In a statement made avaliable to THISDAY by the Founder of WISCAR, Amina Oyagbola, she noted that the organisation collaborated with four others within the WISCAR Alumni community to deploy the survey, the other organisations are: Hacey Health, The Nanny Academy, Brown Button Foundation and Milky Express.

“The survey was targeted at working women in the formal and informal sectors and specific at risks groups that included healthcare workers, pregnant /nursing mothers and domestic care workers. The aim of the survey is to influence and support more inclusive private and public sector-driven interventions that are gender inclusive and responsive in their design and approach,” she said.

Oyagbola in the statement said the results of the survey highlighted that the shift to working from home has resulted in women taking on additional burdens of emotional labour and care work.

“This finding is accompanied with the fear of income or job loss as a result of the economic outlook. The inability to effectively work from home (46.3 percent) due to the inability to concentrate (39.2 percent) has increased distraction (47.2 percent); as inadequate infrastructure and support (37.6 percent) were cited as challenges that women also face.

“In terms of solutions, 76.7 percent of respondents suggested private sector interventions around business innovation, while 61.9 percent indicated that realistic and far-reaching government safety nets and economic stimulus packages should be prioritised.

“These were described by our respondents as the most helpful interventions for their business, jobs and organisations to survive and or recover.

Although the COVID-19 crisis is a physical health crisis in the first instance, our survey corroborates previous reports that it has the seeds of a major mental health crisis. 64.7 percent reported that they experienced increased anxiety; 55.9 percent have had to cope with added stress while 41.2 percent are prone to a higher frequency of mood swings.

“Data from the survey corroborates that there is a high risk that all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) will increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating more demand and greater need for support services,” WISCAR founder explained.

The statement noted that: “The survey results provided a snapshot of the impact of COVID 19 on working women during the lockdown, highlighting the positive and negative effects and the opportunities that have emerged from the crisis.

“It also provides women’s networks and non-profit organisations with much required data to support and strengthen advocacy for gender responsiveness and inclusion.