3 Ways I Was Impacted by COVID-19 as a Woman

You might have read articles about how COVID-19 disproportionately impacted women. I can attest to feeling this way during this pandemic, and while I’m so thankful I retained those nearest and dearest — the lives of those I love — that doesn’t make the pain less real. Here are three ways that COVID-19 impacted me as a woman and how I managed.

1. I Had to Postpone a Very Important Gynecologist Visit

Health centers made many adjustments during COVID-19. Fortunately, authorities issued guidance to such clinics. The CDC recommended that facilities explore alternatives to face-to-face and triage visits, and the federal government obliged by loosening restrictions surrounding telehealth [1].

Unfortunately, there was no such mercy extended toward individual taxpayers who need access to affordable care to thrive. The cruelty of for-profit medicine needs to end. Nevertheless, that system is our current reality. Like millions of others under 65, when I lost my job, I lost my insurance coverage.

A Pap smear is an important test recommended to women between 21 and 65 every three years to screen for cervical cancer [2]. I had to put off a preventative yearly gynecological screening while I figured out how I would be able to afford access to basic medicine now. I still haven’t gone in.

2. My Sister Fell Ill and I Took Charge of Her Kids

My sister is a nurse, and although some health care workers lost employment during the pandemic, she kept her job [3]. Did you know women are more likely to work in caregiver positions, which were some of the hardest hit during this pandemic [4]? As my sister works in a senior care facility — which ranks among the top hardest hit — she became ill. She recovered, but in the interim, I took charge of her children.

I didn’t mind stepping in to help, but I’m not a parent myself. My apartment isn’t childproof, and I had never changed a diaper before I had to care for my nephew. She helped me financially, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle going from childless-by-choice to substitute-parent-for-three overnight.

3. My Anxiety Soared Out of Control

Thanks to COVID-19, I found myself with no job and very little money. As a result, my anxiety spiraled out of control. It didn’t help that I was already emotionally exhausted from over a decade of too many bills and too little month.
Women are statistically more predisposed to suffering from anxiety [5]. The same rule may well apply to economic hardship, given that women still earn significantly less than men. We tend to have a more challenging time recovering from downturns, whether it be in our health or our work.

Yes, Many Women Suffered Disproportionately in the Pandemic

I don’t know where I will go from here. I suppose I will do what I’ve historically done, which is everything I can to try to rebuild! I lost my day job, but luckily, I still have my Editor in Chief job at an online mag, which I enjoy very much. Still, I’m not the only one who felt the disproportionate gender effects of COVID-19 [6]. This pandemic definitely highlighted, for many, the gender disparity that makes catastrophes into a feminist issue and shows we still have far to go to reach equality in the way our society is built.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ambulatory-care-settings.html
[2] https://www.healthforcalifornia.com/blog/what-is-preventive-care
[3] https://www.npr.org/2020/05/10/853524764/amid-pandemic-hospitals-lay-off-1-4m-workers-in-april
[4] https://www.oecd.org/gender/data/women-are-well-represented-in-health-and-long-term-care-professions-but-often-in-jobs-with-poor-working-conditions.htm
[5] https://bodymind.com/anxiety-symptoms-in-women-and-gender-differences-in-anxiety-disorders/
[6] https://www.media-diversity.org/the-media-is-covering-covid-19s-disproportionate-impact-on-women-but-not-the-underlying-gender-inequality-that-made-it-this-way/

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Mia Barnes