Gender inequality in times of emergencies


Research indicates that gender inequality can be worsened in emergency situations as people may revert to traditional gender roles. For example, men taking control of the emergency related decision-making in the family, and women taking on caring for dependents and household duties such as cooking and cleaning. These gender roles may play out differently depending on aspects of identity including gender identity, Aboriginality, and sexuality.

The COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for everyone and can create stressful environments with tension between many things such as the need to work, care for children and family and continue to maintain a household. We can all continue to promote gender equality by reflecting on:

  • How we share household jobs such as cooking and cleaning amongst family members.
  • How we share children’s educational supervision.
  • How we care for young children.
  • Community care giving and who supports other members of the extended community.
  • How we share decisions in the home related to all aspects of COVID-19, including: financial decisions.
  • How we share opportunities for all household members to work if they can.
  • How we support everyone to have breaks including the opportunity to exercise.
  • How we ensure all household members are able to maintain contact with family and friends outside of the home.

Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC), the Victorian peak body for gender equity, has released a statement on behalf of 50 organisations across Victoria calling on the State and Federal Government to recognise the gendered impacts of COVID-19.

The statement can be found here: