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  • According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), women are one of the most vulnerable groups in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), women are one of the most vulnerable groups in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. | Photo: EFE

Published 12 May 2020
Opinion

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned that after the impact of COVID-19 in the region, women, Indigenous, migrants and blacks will be the most affected populations.

The COVID-19 pandemic will make a bad economic situation worse for women, Indigenous, black people and migrants in Latin America, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned Tuesday.

RELATED:
Universal Basic Income to Help Most Affected by COVID-19: ECLAC

The agency of the United Nations said in a report that unequal access to potable water, sanitation, healthcare, and housing could also mean higher rates of infection and death among these higher-risk populations, focusing primarily on the reality of women.

Women are in a “particularly vulnerable situation,” the report said, because their work is more often informal, with few guarantees, leaving them more exposed to the risk of unemployment.

Domestic workers in Latin America,  for example, who account for 11.4 percent of employed women in the region, will be especially hard hit by the virus and economic downturn, with limited access to an already tenuous social safety net in many countries.

Furthermore, many domestic workers are migrants, Indigenous or Blacks, compounding the discrimination, the agency added.

Women are also most likely to be saddled with the responsibilities that come with quarantine and the closure of schools, increasing stress at home, and the potential for domestic violence.

“The burden of unpaid domestic work assumed by women, adolescents, and girls, as well as cases of violence against them, are significantly increased,” the ECLAC warned.

However, although the report focused partly on women, data from around the world has shown that men are dying at a higher rate than women from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

On the other hand, the crisis is expected to exacerbate festering social and labor discrimination suffered by the Indigenous and black populations, who already face greater wage gaps compared to other groups, ECLAC warned.

“Likewise, discrimination and racism hinder the effective access of Indigenous and Afro-descendant people to health services,” the ECLAC added.

Meanwhile, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena said on Tuesday that the agency with a view to mitigating the COVID-19 social impact on the most vulnerable sectors of the region proposed that governments should guarantee an Emergency Basic Income (IBE) to help address the virus impact and with the possibility of thinking about a long-term universal basic income. ​​​​​​

Latin America has more than 369,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and more than 20,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to a Reuters count based on official data.


 

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