Why pandemic coronavirus has different implications for men and women

Pandemic Covid-19 has completely different implications for men and women — and not only in terms of health. It would seem that the virus must be still, who to infect. Why is gender important? Says the BBC.

Почему пандемия коронавируса имеет разные последствия для мужчин и женщин

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This coronavirus does not spare anybody — neither the bus drivers nor the Prime Ministers. If he liked more people of a particular sex? And how can this be? Because a virus is practically an inanimate piece of drifting of genetic material. He can’t consciously make a choice.

Still, he is a completely different impact on different groups of the population. The most obvious difference between men and women.

This difference not only during the disease, but also in her long — term consequences for health and economic.

The difference in the course of the disease

One of the most striking differences is the level of mortality. For example, in the United States from the coronavirus killed twice as many men than women.

In Western Europe, 69% of all deaths from coronavirus — men. The same is observed in China and around the world.

Scientists from University College London are conducting gender-based statistics of morbidity in the world, trying to understand why such a difference. The reason is unclear.

According to one theory, the reaction of the female immune system on the virus stronger, says Professor of immunology at Oxford University, Philip Gulder.

“The immune response to vaccines and infections are generally more aggressive and more effective in women compared to men,” he says.

This is partly because women have two X chromosomes, while males have one that can be important when faced with the coronavirus.

“In particular, protein, for which coronaviruses are recognized, encoded in the X chromosome — continues Gulder. — As a result, this protein is expressed in the form of a double-dose in many of the immune cells in women unlike men. And the immune reaction of the female body on the coronavirus, thus increasing”.

Another explanation is the different lifestyle of men and women. This is evident, for example, Smoking, which affects the level of comorbidities — heart disease, chronic lung diseases and cancers, says Gulder. All this affects the outcome of infectious disease caused by a coronavirus.

“Especially noticeable is the difference in some countries — for example, in China, where the smoke 50% of men and 5% women.”

However, at this stage of the pandemic, we still can not definitely say which reason is more important — or may be affected by one or the other.

Financial implications

There is, however, another important aspect of how different the pandemic affects men and women.

Michelle Tertilt, an economist from the University of Mannheim (Germany), with colleagues collect evidence of this by the example of the workers of the United States.

So, the so-called lockdown has already cost large numbers of people, and the economy of many countries is threatened by a recession.

But in the unemployment of men and women are not equal. The circumstances of this, however, is truly unique and, according to Tertilt differ from a typical recession.

In the United States in March lost the work of 1.4 million people, making it the biggest splash since 1975. Women suffered the most — the unemployment rate increased by 0.9% (males — 0.7%).

The singularity of the current crisis, among other things, is that usually, when the recession unemployment more affects men — because mostly they work in those spheres of production, which is closely linked to economic cycles — for example, in construction or industry.

By contrast, women are more employed in such sectors as health and education.

But now employment is influenced by other factors. One of them — whether you or a key employee.

A team of scientists under the leadership of Tertilt considers key employees in the areas of health, transport, law enforcement agencies (police), agriculture, fisheries, forestry, maintenance and repair.

According to this classification, in important areas there are 17% women and 24% men.

Second most critical factor — if people have the opportunity to work from home, “on distance”. It is clear that if a business analyst is quite capable of working remotely, the bartender — no.

Tertilt found that among men more than those who have the opportunity to work from home — 28% (22% among women).

“If you think about it, this is not surprising: a lot of women work at restaurants, in tourism. But around the world restaurants and bars are closed and almost no one travels”.

“From the point of view of economic prospects, under the blow fall first of all low-paid, young representatives of the working class,” — says Natasha Mudhar, Executive Director and co-founder of The World We Want, an organisation calling itself a global movement whose activities are aimed at achieving the goals formulated by the UN in the field of sustainable development.

The gap in pay between men and women aggravates inequality: women are not only faster to lose their jobs, but they get less for it.

In the U.S., women earn only 85% of what men earn. In Australia the figure is 86%, and in India — 75%.

The case deteriorates against women of certain races and nationalities: for example, in U.S. black women earn 21% less than white.

Worse single parents. In all of the United States, according to Tertilt, 20 million, and three quarters of them women.

“Just imagine — they can’t work, says Tertilt. Even if the woman is a nurse or doctor, even if she is working in important companies of the sector, anyway — if she has the baby at home, she can’t leave him alone”.

Even if such parents have the opportunity to work remotely is not very realistic to assume that they are able to fully perform their duties, when a small child constantly demands attention.

“This is especially true of single mothers, stresses Tertilt. They now can’t hire a nanny or ask to babysit a grandma or neighbor. So they lose a job.”

The problem is that even in those countries where government financial support losing their jobs (the UK, Germany, USA), such parents may not meet the criteria assume that if they quit the job before this scheme was put into effect.

Identified inequality

“All epidemics are different for representatives of different gender consequences, says Claire Wenem, associate Professor at the London school of Economics and political science. The problem is that before, nobody spoke, and the politicians were not aware”.

Wanem with colleagues investigated the effects of outbreaks of zika virus and Ebola for men and women and now study what is happening because of the new coronavirus.

One of the consequences of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone was a significant leap in maternal mortality.

“From previous epidemics we know that all resources usually are left to struggle with flash, says Wanem. — This means that the planned provision of health services is interrupted”.

On top of that, the pandemic has been increasingly reported cases of domestic violence.

In France, for example, in the first week of lockdown, the number of such cases rose by a third in Australia — 75%, in Lebanon — twice.

And though domestic violence affects men, the main sufferings experienced by women: for example, in the United States are with probability greater half, are exposed to violence from the cohabitant. The risk of becoming a victim of rape for women is 14 times higher.

“When you lock people’s homes in a period full of stress, when people have no money, when there is no work, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand why this leads to domestic violence,” said Wanem.

Currently the picture is undoubtedly bleak — for each sex in its own way.

For men, especially those belonging to older age groups, the most important concern is the ability to become sick and die. For women who are more likely to be well contracted, the consequences can last for years to come.

Says Wenem, governments still not too late to take care of those who have suffered more than others economically. You can do things that will allow you to soften the financial blow to these people.

“We need to think about how to economically encourage women during and after the pandemic, how to bring them to work, she says. For example, to provide services related to the care of children”.

However, the study Tertilt found the light at the end of the tunnel. Actually, two ray of hope.

The first is a flexible approach to the workplace.

“Millions of entrepreneurs and companies on the go to adapt to working from home,” says she.

In March in some areas of the United States 200% increase in the volume of work performed remotely.

“Within certain limits it can become the norm and will make it easier to combine career and family, she says. — That women will benefit from such changes in business culture, because in the main they are caring within the family for children.”

The second ray of hope — a possible change of roles during the lockdown, though, and forced.

“Imagine a family where the wife is a doctor at the hospital, at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus, and my husband works from home, she says. — In this family the husband suddenly becomes the main care of the children.”

Given that 60% of American families, this is a role traditionally reserved for the woman, this will be a major change with long-term consequences, said Tertilt.

The experience of Germany and Sweden, where fathers have the opportunity to take leave in connection with birth of a child, showed that the experience permanently changes male approach to parenting.

“Even if quarantine and self-isolation will last for a month or two, the long-term consequences — sure Tertilt. — And if longer, the consequences would be worse.”

Any crisis in health care is exacerbated by prominence to inequality in various spheres of life. Gender inequality is just one example.

For example, in the United States city with a large African-American population to bear the brunt of the pandemic.

However, this highlights the problem that existed long before the pandemic is inequality in access to health services. Black Chicagoans, for example, live on average nine years less than their white neighbors.

Those who have related health problems, more likely to die from Covid-19. And diabetes and cardiovascular disease disproportionately affect African Americans.

Yes, the virus spares no one, but this does not mean that all members of society have the same risk.

All the contrary: this virus clearly shows the inequality in healthcare is much clearer than ever.

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