To combat gender violence, we need feminist leadership

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March 2021 marks the first anniversary of the outbreak of Covid-19 in many countries, with all its tragic consequences. For millions of women around the world, this pandemic has produced grievous suffering, exposing them to rising levels of violence and abuse, often endured in silence.

The lockdown and quarantine measures adopted, which are vital to limit the spread of the virus, have also led to an alarming increase in violence against women worldwide. The United Nations estimates that gender violence increased by 30% globally during lockdown. According to the latest data, in Latin America, helplines received 30-50% more calls than before, while in Spain the number of calls for assistance increased by 60% in the last 12 months.

Confined with their abusers, the women exposed to this violence have had even greater difficulty in accessing support networks and care services. Moreover, the economic impact of the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected women, has created additional barriers. The massive loss of female employment, both formal and informal, the resulting economic insecurity and the increased burden of care responsibilities have prevented many from leaving their oppressors or from reporting the violence suffered. By the end of this year, for every hundred men living in extreme poverty, there will be 118 women. In many cases of gender violence, the lack of household income is, literally, life-threatening. Without financial independence, women’s vulnerability increases exponentially.

+INFO: El País

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