Last night, I, like many of you, scrolled through story after story that analyzed, examined, made predictions and reported on every angle surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. Almost every angle, that is.
As I read about the line-ups outside grocery stores, about the increased pressures and burdens on caregivers, about the increased needs of frontline workers – including that of our staff teams – about online courses for students across the country, and even lighter posts that offered tips on how to entertain children while managing work responsibilities, a trend emerged.
The COVID-19 crisis is a gendered issue. We know that through this pandemic, women continue to work and carry the vast majority of caregiving and at-home responsibilities. And even more stressful is if you are a woman or family experiencing violence at home and while isolated. Families simply have nowhere to turn. Our partners in the violence against women sector have seen a spike in domestic violence since COVID-19 entered our lives. Together, we are working hard to address their urgent needs.
The life-changing and life-saving programs we offer at YWCA Hamilton have never been as critical as they are now. I know how much you are all dealing with and I too, am feeling this anxiety. We all have the same questions and seek the same answers – how long will this go on? How do we manage the stress? Although we do not have all the answers right now, we do know that we will get through this, together.
Please take care of each other and check in on your family, friends, and isolated neighbours. Remember to wash your hands and practice social distancing. And please reach out to access mental health supports available to you through community resources or your family doctor.
We don’t know how long this will go on. But we do know that here at YWCA Hamilton, we will continue to advocate for all women and families in our community, for equal pay for equal work, dignified care for those who need us most, quality universal child care, safe affordable housing and a right to live free of violence.