The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed stark inequalities and fissures in societies around the world.
One of these ruptures has been the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women.
In South Africa, women have suffered severe economic and social impacts from the lockdown that was imposed to curb the spread of the virus.
The National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey investigates the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic and lockdown conditions.
Results from the first wave of the survey show that net job losses between February and April were higher for women than for men. Women accounted for two-thirds of the total net job losses.
Women are more likely than men to live in households that reported running out of money for food in April. In addition, more women than men are living with children and spending more hours on childcare since the start of the lockdown.
Data from the Gauteng department of health’s Mpilo database (6 March-27 November 2020, received 1 December) shows that 56% of positive Covid-19 cases are women but only 50% of the population are women.
This gender gap is largely occurring for women of working age (from 20 to 65 years) and for the very elderly.
Data for SA shows that more women (53%) are being tested for Covid-19 and a slightly higher proportion (57%) are testing positive. This means more women are being tested and that they are more vulnerable to contracting the disease.
The split in female-to-male rates of testing and positive cases is mirrored in the data on hospital admissions.
At the end of November 2020, SA recorded a total of 106 931 admissions of which 59,689 (56%) were women.
By contrast, the death data showed that men are slightly more likely to die of Covid-19 in SA than women. This is in line with global patterns and suggests that the higher rate of cases is not resulting in a higher mortality rate for women.
This article was originally published by The Conversation.