The COVID-19 crisis hits women harder.
The United Nations has recently warned us against the risk that the Covid-19 will wipe out the (limited) progress in reducing gender inequalities made in recent decades. It marks a turnaround in the very year of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action: a crucial moment in the affirmation of women’s rights, which has given a strong impetus to the public debate on gender equality.
Crises are not all the same; they affect people, social spheres, productive sectors with different intensity. This pandemic has so far hit women harder, making the gender imbalance dramatic, and it is a terrible blow to the rights and opportunities of children and mothers.
The closure of nurseries, kindergartens and schools deprived not only children of their rights, but also underlined the stereotype about the family’s structure: all took for granted that families would make do, regardless of the circumstances and resources available. For many women, the work overload has become almost intolerable with continuous stress over 24 hours. Many women have quit their jobs.
Among the reasons for resignation, the most recurrent is the difficulty of reconciling employment with childcare needs. This challenge may be due to the absence of support relatives, the high incidence of newborn care costs and the closure of public schools. Another reason is the difficulty of reconciling work with child care for needs related to the company in which they are employed: working conditions which are particularly burdensome or not compatible with the responsibility of children; or the failure to get a part-time.
The inadequate number of nurseries, the lack of support in the care of children by grandparents and the high fees for the nurseries cause women to lose their freedom of choice. Especially with the COVID-19 crisis, when families consider what to cut, they decide that it is up to the woman, who earns less, to give up work, because in economic terms it is convenient. A justified decision, but it is no longer a choice.
Discouraged women don’t look for work
Lockdowns have reinforced a process in which women have not only lost or quit their jobs but are also discouraged and do not even try to find another job. Women work in those sectors where the lockdown has hit hardest; for example, carers and babysitters, beauty salons, hairdressers, gyms or the shops, where the number of female employees is high. These sectors are in deep crisis and will continue to be so for two years, as several economists claim. For this reason, women have stopped looking for work, with the consequent increase in gender inequality.
The fight against gender inequalities has been almost non-existent in government agendas during the COVID-19 crisis management. This topic must end up on the tables of all parliaments around the world. Fighting wage and salary inequality also mean preventing women from leaving the labour market. First and foremost, we need to promote the transparency of companies about wage data, and tackle gender stereotypes at source, starting with the criteria that companies use to employ resources and, before that, starting with the education system, which at the moment still pushes only boys into management careers. Just think about the number of women in politics and economics. Very few.
For the long term, however, some economists have hypothesised positive effects for women’s welfare and gender equality, through two streams (source: Alon et al., 2020).
- The first is the reorganisation of work in favour of flexible modalities; employers must invest in this new model, and it involves an unprecedented number of workers due to the pandemic. If such schemes were to become ordinary, women would benefit relatively more than men, in terms of better work-life balance, but also because their widespread adoption would weaken one of the causes of the pay gap.
- The second is the change in social norms underlying family roles. Increased awareness of the unpaid workloads acquired by men during the COVID-19 period of domestic isolation would induce a process of empowerment. An equal gender model would follow.
While it is true that there may be an improvement for women in the long term, it is also true that the situation is not at all in favour of working women right now; unless women dare to break free from the pre-established models and invest in themselves.
Our greatest asset is us, and therefore reinventing ourselves in this new scenario, taking advantage of the drive for global change, is undoubtedly an ace up our sleeve.
More and more women are looking for a realistic way to start an online business, to reinvent themselves and escape the job-family trap set up by society. And the number one thing people want to know is — if it’s realistic to replace their income before leaving their job and finally focus on their online business, without getting mad or feeling alone.
I can tell you that it is realistic and achievable and more so than ever in today’s digital economy. The most important key here is to start small and then, grow and scale.
Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
So, what business models can work as a start? Affiliate marketing is a great option. This is where you sell other businesses products and get a commission – without having to do any delivery or store products. As an affiliate, the amount of products you can sell is unlimited; you just need to choose what you like the most or what you are passionate about. And the beauty of it is that you can sell those products many times over, 24/7, 365 days a year. So even when you’re with your kids or sleeping (hopefully!), you are growing your income as you grow your sales. It’s less risky because it requires a low or 0 investment.
Sell with E-commerce
Another option is to sell physical products with an E-commerce business. With physical products, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can order existing products in bulk at a fraction of the cost and then set up a sales system.
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Something to consider as you go into this
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People always want the ultimate answer to the question “how long is it going to take?” But I’ve seen so much diversity – from 2 days to 12 months to make the first ten sales. It comes down to your commitment to learning the digital skills you need to succeed.
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When you know better, you DO BETTER. – Maya Angelou
When you do the work on yourself, consistently, you become better and can improve this planet.