The Pandemic in the MENA Region, a Hardship But Also an Opportunity for Women

Covid-19 changed the life of almost everyone on the planet in a matter of months, and affected vulnerable people the most through economic hardship. For women, it has been doubled with a rise of domestic violence. And for women living in countries where gender inequalities are very present, like in the MENA region, the situation has significantly worsened, despite new opportunities opening up to them.

The outbreak of the pandemic has revealed the internal fractures of society, but also put women on the front lines while they lost in autonomy, safety and economical independence. The Arab Barometer published a survey in December 2020, estimating that “women bear a disproportional share of the job cuts” in the MENA region, 8% points more than men in Morocco and 4 in Algeria and Tunisia. The pandemic has also affected the social lives of women: “The COVID-related health scare, the imposed lockdown, school closures, and the increased demands of the family and home, which are predominantly women’s responsibilities in MENA, have taken a heavy toll on Arab women.” It also dramatically affected their safety, with women forced for example to stay in a violent relationship or not being able to seek help: “The highest rate of perceived increase in abuse of or violence against women is in Tunisia (63%), followed by Algeria and Morocco (41%, respectively), while the perceived increase of gender-based violence in Jordan is 27%, and in Lebanon is 20%.”…

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