Growing Calls to End Worsening Domestic Violence Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has encircled the world, highlighting inequities in its path. Among those inequities is violence against women, with growing anxieties tied to mounting data suggesting the pandemic is perpetuating rates of domestic violence worldwide.

On Wednesday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as women around the world held rallies to call for action against the abuse, Pedro Conceição, director of the U.N.’s Human Development Report, along with three panelists, spoke on the topic of gender equality amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pedro highlighted the “most shocking” takeaways from the most recent Human Development Report, which found that almost one-third of survey respondents around the world say it is justifiable for a man to beat his partner. Other findings include 9 out of every 10 people surveyed around the world harboring a bias against gender equality, and a general trend of many countries seeing a backslide in terms of social norms that support progress toward gender equality.

“In times of crisis, social norms tend to become harder, more entrenched, and I think this is a reason for concern because it builds on this backsliding of social norms against gender equality that we documented last year,” Conceição said.

Panelist Kalyani Menon-Sen, a researcher and feminist activist based in New Dehli, reiterated what the coronavirus has done to “make visible the connections between the climate crisis, the economic crisis and the crisis of democracy” throughout the world today. According to Menon-Sen, hierarchies of power and privilege have created these interlocking crises.

“And the most terrifying symptom of this crisis… is really the global resurgence of violent, masculinist, exclusionary political ideology,” Menon-Sen said. “So I think this is a moment that COVID has focused and showed us exactly what peril we are all in.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic has left many women trapped at home and increasingly vulnerable to abuse. In Morocco, for example, women’s rights groups began reporting this past spring double the usual number of reports of physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, primarily by husbands and male partners.

Gender-based violence has long plagued Latin America and has spiked this year across the region, according to research. And in India, where an estimated 90% of the country’s workforce is in the informal economy, female workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse this year, according to research by Human Rights Watch.

More from U.S. News

Coronavirus Pandemic Fuels Surge in Domestic Abuse in Morocco

Informal Female Workers Face Harassment and Abuse in India, Report Finds

Top 10 Worst Countries For Gender Equality, Ranked by Perception

Growing Calls to End Worsening Domestic Violence Amid Coronavirus Pandemic originally appeared on

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