Women, more vulnerable in social isolation

Zuleidys is located in the east of Cuba and carries out independent initiatives to support and empower women in her community.

A large part of the world is facing the fatal COVID-19 pandemic, which is leaving a large number of deaths. Trying to reduce the transmission of this virus, different types of governments have adopted different measures. The Cuban government is no exception and has also taken measures, one of the main ones being social isolation. However, these measures have caused several problems within the population, especially for women, who are the fundamental axis of many families. It should be kept in mind that Cuban women continue to assume culturally assigned gender roles, which still keep them slaves of men and their power.

Living conditions in Cuba have led to bigger families, with 12 to 14 people, children, parents, siblings, sisters-in-law, nephews, grandparents, etc., living together in the same house. The woman, in her domestic environment, in her daily effort to articulate the family, is the one who is mostly affected by these measures. Hygiene in the home, the care and education of children and the elderly, the whole weight of work and care falls on them. In addition, the poor housing conditions, the lack of food, of basic necessities such as soap, detergent, toothpaste and problems of access to drinking water must also be added. Such kinds of problems are the ones that Cubans face on a daily basis.

Social isolation exposes women even more to the increase of machismo and domestic violence, which leads to murders of women, men staying home longer, alcoholism, gambling and drugs, all of which affects the coexistence. Women live in a situation of constant violation of their fundamental rights. The State, in its ego of being within the countries with fewer cases of COVID-19 infections, ignores these problems. Until there is a transparent and participatory government in Cuba, with democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and, above all, until there are public policies that provide protection for women, we will continue to be the most vulnerable sector of the population, and even more in times of quarantine.

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