In the midst of this Covid pandemic, there is always plenty to go around. Plenty of blame and plenty of praise; plenty of fear and plenty of heroism; plenty of stories and plenty of endings. It’s easy to become numb to all the sea of information washing over us daily in such trying times. However, in doing so, we neglect the importance of recognizing and acknowledging all the tremendous strain and effort individuals are enduring and exuding. At these moments, it becomes all the more important to note, highlight and praise the individuals and groups who are providing for their communities in this battle against a disease. With that in mind, we must commemorate and sing the praises of women worldwide, who disproportionately lead the fight on the frontlines against Covid.
It has become popular in the 21st century to make sweeping statements about whole swarths or groups of people without evidence to support the claim. Grandiosity and embellishment are the coins of the era. So it can become easy to be inured to statements as bold as “women overwhelmingly lead the frontline fight on Covid.” We must recognize this statement not as hyperbole but as an unequivocal statement of literal truth. The sky looks blue, and the war against the novel coronavirus has been waged first and foremost by women.
70% of all healthcare workers are women. That’s a staggeringly high percentage, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the fight against Covid is being waged primarily by the healthcare industry. There are plenty of doctor and nurse burnout stories because of the long hours and consistency of death. What the reports fail to acknowledge is this burden statistically befalls women primarily all around the world. If this is a war, and all the language globally has been centered around “fighting” the disease, then women make up the infantry, the artillery, the cavalry–they are the army. It is time we start praising them as the soldiers for humanity they have been in the same way men are glorified for fighting wars that rain down destruction.
In this genuine struggle against a new disease, women have also made themselves the most at risk. 90% of nurses are women, and nurses tend to be the most exposed to patients during their stay in a hospital. A nurse’s day consists of touching and getting close to patients–whether it’s changing IVs, helping adjust positioning, or any other necessary tasks for patients to receive compassionate care. The vast majority of healthcare workers who expose themselves to the greatest extent are nurses, and just on numbers alone, the vast majority of nurses are women. You do the math.
It’s also imperative to remember that, generally speaking, women also shoulder a significant burden at home. With schools and child care facilities closing, that responsibility has grown exponentially. So not only are women on the frontlines of the battle, but they’re also on the homefront trying to keep their families stable and secure in exceedingly trying times. Whether it’s helping students with schoolwork or being the consistent source of safety, Mothers have also been serving on another frontline of the pandemic, the frontline to keep children sane and progressing healthily both medically and mentally.