Effects of Covid-19 on women

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, not only in Kenya but across the globe. However, the effects of Covid-19 on women and girls has far-reaching impact. This is because women and girls take a greater responsibility in domestic work and caring for the families.

Learn more.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Community-Based Organizations in Kenya
Most vulnerable families have not been able to get enough care and support

When the lockdown began, Noella Osodo initially thought she could push through with the little savings she had.

As a schoolteacher, she was heavily affected after seeing her savings dwindle by the day. As a single and widowed parent of two young adults, getting through the pandemic left her drained.

“I’m the sole bread winner, caretaker and ‘dad’ to my two boys who fully depend on me,” she says. “When schools were closed, teachers like me struggled since we depend on monthly income.”

Harsh effects of Covid-19 on women

effects of covid-19 on women
Janeiskah Oyora, is one of the women who has been affected by Covid-19

Due to the lockdown casual jobs such as cleaning, salon work and other forms of domestic work abruptly stopped. This diminished the income of many women. As a result, they were unable to provide food for their families and pay for house rent.  

An example is fishmongers, who have to collaborate with suppliers from upcountry in order to get their produce. For some period during Covid-19 they could not get fish, which meant finding alternative sources of income.

Despite the efforts of the government and non-governmental organizations to cushion families through food donations, many families still missed out. Nursing mothers, the sick and the old who could not get out of the houses failed to receive the essential support. Women who depend on cleaning work were hard hit and are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic since many people are not yet comfortable having people from outside working in their houses.

Some mothers and their children had to move up country, leaving their husbands to look for hard-to-come-by work in the city.

The harsh reality of the ground

Covid-19 pandemic effects on women
Noel Mmboga: Women cannot abandon the family when things get harder. They stay put and do all they can to protect and provide for their children

According to Noel Mmboga, Building Blocks for Literacy Country Director, women and girls are more vulnerable due to societal biases that put them between a rock and a hard place.

Caregivers have reported that about 76 girls who were participating in the program before Covid-19 have not reported back to school after getting pregnant, getting married or getting casual jobs.

“In most families, fathers are the sole bread winners,” she says. “However, while they can leave and abandon the family when things get harder, women have to stay put and do all they can to protect and provide for their children.”

Janeiskah Oyora, a tailor who stays in Soweto Kibera, knows how it feels to have no source of income to take care of her thirteen-year old daughter and 3-and-a-half-year old son. Her tailoring business took a big hit and she even contemplated going back to stay with her mom.

“I had sacrificed a lot for my business to be where it was before the pandemic struck,” she says. “It is difficult for a single mom who doesn’t have a stable income to take care of her precious children. It hurts me knowing that I cannot provide, and I have to depend on well-wishers and friends who are also affected,” she sobs.

The long term effects of Covid-19

While these challenges may seem temporary, the effects may turn into permanent and damaging ones. Right now, most schoolgirls are portraying new character traits and behavior that is difficult to deal with.

Many parents are reporting that their children are, are not only lacking discipline, but increasingly becoming demotivated and disillusioned with studying and life in general.

“There are girls who have gotten married or became pregnant, not out of love but out of desperation. Their self-esteem, confidence and trust have been broken and may never be repaired. That is a disaster that may last for generations to come!”

Teacher Noella Osodo

On the other hand, parents are tired and want their children to be in school, especially the girls. Parents appreciate and respect the role of teachers in their children’s lives, now more than ever before. Schools offer a safe environment for girls as well as meeting other needs such as food as most schools have feeding programs.   

“The effects are far more reaching than what we are experiencing and what the media is reporting right now,” Noella adds.

“There are girls who have gotten married or became pregnant, not out of love but out of desperation. Their self-esteem, confidence and trust have been broken and may never be repaired. That is a disaster that may last for generations to come!”

1 thought on “Effects of Covid-19 on women”

  1. Margaret Wanjiku

    The long term effects of COVID 19 and especially to young girls is very severe. This is a season that most have been subjected to harsh life conditions which may completely distract their growth pattern.

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