"COVID-19 is a gendered crisis; our response must be a feminist one"

There is an immediate need for a gender-based analysis on COVID-19 responses, as well as a Feminist Recovery Plan in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted (and exacerbated) the gendered harms and gaps in healthcare, ecological, social, and economic policies in our province including:

  • Daily gender-based violence;
  • Challenges facing parents and caregivers;
  • Poverty, financial insecurity and job precarity, systematically affecting some groups more than others;
  • Low pay and high-risk levels for front line and “essential” workers, often women;
  • Gendered wage gaps; and,
  • the absence of voices of women and other marginalized genders in policy planning and decision making.

Women in our province were disadvantaged by structural inequality long before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the crisis has further increased the disproportionate barriers and challenges women face. For instance, 83% of the health workforce in NL is female, and women also form the majority of unpaid caregivers (Newfoundland and Labrador Strategic Workforce Health Plan 2015-2018); thus, when we talk (as an example) about a lack of Personal Protective Equipment during the pandemic, this issue impacts women most.

A feminist recovery plan is one that centers the voices of marginalized women, and those most impacted by the pandemic, as we move forward.

Our five concrete, evidence-based recommendations include:

  1. Engaging in Gender Based Analysis and centering the voices of marginalized women in recovery planning;
  2. A central phone line (with texting capacity) for the province for victims of domestic violence and discussion of domestic violence at daily COVID-19 briefings;
  3. An all-party Task Force on domestic violence; a concrete plan with actionable deliverables, and dedicated funding and resources to achieve those goals;
  4. Establishment of a Living Wage of $18.85 per hour for all workers in the province; and,
  5. A long-term plan to increase the number of quality, publicly-funded childcare spaces so women can fully participate in work, education and civic life.

But first and foremost we are calling on our government to engage with women in this province, to understand the ways in which pre-existing structural inequalities have been intensified and compounded during this pandemic and to hear women’s ideas for innovative solutions moving forward. 

We hope you will join us in advocating for a gender-based analysis and feminist recovery plan. You can download and sign the following advocacy letter campaign, and email to the premier at dwightball@gov.nl.ca

As well, we have compiled resources here, including…

A copy of our signed advocacy letter to the premiere:

COVID-19 Feminist Advocacy Letter

A link to our Facebook Live panel on the topic:

Feminist COVID-19 Recovery Panel FB Live Event

A copy of the content from that event:

COVID-19 Feminist Recovery Plan

An example of Canadian research on these issues:

CRIAW Women in Canada and COVID-19

A copy of Hawaii’s Feminist COVID-19 Recovery Plan: