Pandemic’s burden falls on working women
Women have come together to mark International Women’s day, sharing their experiences and bringing to light how women have had to take on more responsibilities than men while working side by side in the ongoing pandemic period.
A year full of restrictions, lockdowns and curfews has shown that women were the first ones to be laid off in shrinking industries, were exposed to domestic violence at home, and had to put food on the table despite Zoom meetings and managing work side by side.
From motorcycle couriers to nurses and from cashiers to teachers, women laborers shared their experiences during this challenging time and their messages for International Women’s Day, held every year on March 8.
Working as a corporate sales manager in a company in İzmir, a woman, identified only by initials S.S., who is also a mother of a 4-year-old, noted that her professional and personal life both took a setback due to the pandemic.
“All family members are always at home; it increased the time devoted to cooking, shopping and cleaning,” she said, noting that she could spare quality time neither for her job nor for her daughter during the pandemic process.
As the pandemic led to a boom in online delivery services and stiff competition between restaurants for faster delivery, a female motorcycle courier in the Aegean province of İzmir explained the difficulties she faced.
“What is really difficult is the taboos and social stigma that try to make life difficult for women to exist and do things,” she said, adding that people were surprised to see a female motor courier, but women are determined to break prejudices.
Stating that the workload and working hours have increased exponentially due to distance education, Simge Yardım, a teacher working in the capital Ankara, pointed out that their lives were under the control of parents during the pandemic period.
“Too many of our friends are faced with complaints from parents. This situation meant more pressure, control and mobbing,” Yardım said.
Working at one of the markets that were partially opened during the pandemic period, a cashier, identified only by initials S.A., listed her concerns about working conditions.
“People come to the market not only for shopping but also for spending some time. Our biggest problem is not paying attention to social distancing rules,” she said, adding that she was in contact with currency notes from morning to night while wearing a mask for nine hours a day.
“Being a working woman means an endless job, especially when you are a mother. I also have to take care of the food, the laundry, the dishes at home. We do not stop and rest until we go to bed,” she added.
Working on the front lines in a hospital in Ankara in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a 42-year-old nurse said that even entering the house has not been less than a burden in this ongoing pandemic process.