28 July 2020

A Gendered Perspective on the Pandemic

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on carers – disproportionately women – has been especially severe, both physically and economically. Similarly, it is women who were particularly impacted by an increase in domestic violence during lockdown.

Prügl, Elisabeth. 2020. A Gendered Perspective on the Pandemic. Global Challenges. Special Issue n°1. Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully brought to the surface a long-lingering crisis of care under neoliberal capitalism.

Though it should be easy to agree that maintaining life should be a key purpose of our economy, existing policies have utterly marginalised the labour and people involved in what feminist political economists have called “the production of life.” Care labour – disproportionately performed by women and mostly unpaid – continues to serve as a free input into the economy, while welfare systems – from health care to elder care – continue to be framed as a drain on societies.

Looking at the pandemic through the lens of care shines a bright light on the pathologies of contemporary patriarchy. To illustrate this point, Elisabeth Prügl picks up three specific themes that have emerged in the course of the crisis: the centrality of care labour; the spike in domestic violence; and celebrations of women’s political leadership.


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