COVID-19: Women’s Health, And SEX  During Lockdown
| IOP Desk - 23 Apr 2020

A Ghanaian woman has demanded the government to end the lockdown saying that she is upset, because her husband is repeatedly asking her to have sex.  This woman from Ghana of African country, is one glaring example that how women are suffering during this Lockdown, which has been done in many countries around the world to avoid the corona virus. 

By Umang Gupta and Madhu Kumari

This Ghanaian woman has uploaded a video and said, after getting up from my sleep, my husband is sitting ready for sex. If he does, then cook for him, after eating food, he will speak for sex again, what is the sex lockdown for sex again?  The woman said that, if the lockdown cannot be ended, allow my husband to go to work.

Stress, degradation of social and security networks, and reduced access to resources can all increase the risk of women experiencing abuse during the ongoing COVID-19, a pandemic, which has affected globally everyone.

The risk of intimate partner abuse is expected to rise when distancing strategies are placed in motion and people are allowed to stay home, according to experts and information coming from different part of the world.

“Now, with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports, leaving governments trying to address a crisis that experts say they should have seen coming, reports Amanda Taub in The NewYork Times.

“The United Nations called on Sunday for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence. “I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic,” Secretary General António Guterres wrote on Twitter.

Clearly, this virus has affected different groups of people differently but the impact of this is hitting women hardest. Early data indicates that the mortality rates from COVID-19 may be higher for men. But the pandemic is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls.

Due to markets fall and closed businesses millions of women have lost their jobs. More than 700,000 jobs have been closed due to the novel corona virus, according to data from the Department of Labor, out of which 60% job losses were experienced by women according to Institute of Women’s Policy Research.  

Women also constitute a large percentage of the informal economy in informal markets and agriculture around the world. In India, almost 94% of total women workers are engaged in informal sector, of which about 20% work in the urban centers.

Majority of women workers in informal sector come from those sections of the society which need income at any cost. Nearly 50 per cent of these women workers are sole supporters of their families,” acoording to a report released by IACSIT Press, Singapore.

At the same time when they have lost their paid employment they have got themselves into unpaid care work which has augmented exponentially due to school closure and growing needs and demands of older people. In both developed and developing economies, many informal sector jobs—domestic workers, caregivers—are mostly done by women who typically lack health insurance and have no social safety net to fall back on. These issues are combining together and overpowering the women’s rights by denying their opportunities.  

The crisis is affecting more women’ safety and health. Apart from the direct impacts of pandemic, women are finding hard to access most important maternal health services. Women’s personal safety is also at risk.

The very conditions needed to combat the disease—isolation, social distance, limits on freedom of movement—are, obstinately, the same conditions that play into the hands of abusers who are now finding state-sanctioned circumstances tailor-made for violence.

According to UN Women, “Confinement is fostering the tension and strain created by security, health, and money worries. And it is increasing isolation for women with violent partners, separating them from the people and resources that can best help them. And in parallel, as health systems are stretching to breaking point, domestic violence shelters are also reaching capacity, a service deficit made worse when centers are repurposed for additional COVID-response.”

1 out of 3 woman has experienced physical or sexual or both violence by her intimate partner or only sexual violence several times in their lifetime by any perpetrator. Violence against women is very common and in that, intimate partner violence is the most familiar from of violence. Violence against women tends to increase during any type of emergency including pandemic.

Differently-abled women and older women are likely to be the more victim of this violence. Women who are displaced, refugees, and living in conflict-affected areas are particularly vulnerable. Violence, particularly intimate partner / domestic violence, has major health impacts on women and their children. Violence against women can lead to injuries and severe physical, emotional, sexual and reproductive health issues like sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and unplanned pregnancies.

The risk of women being vulnerable to abuse in an intimate relationship and their children is significantly increased, as family members expend more time in direct proximity and households experience added hardship and possible economic or work losses. Women can have less interaction with family and friends, who may encourage and defend against abuse. Exposure to critical sexual and reproductive health care will undoubtedly become more limited, especially for women exposed to abuse.

The novel corona virus pandemic couldn't just exacerbate India's financial log jam yet additionally sway the debilitated activity advertises in the nation. The lady, who talked on states of secrecy, is a showcasing official and was as of late asked by her boss to go on unpaid leave for a month.

Speaking to India Today TV in a telephonic conversation, she said, "Today is the first day that I will be home for over a month. This will also help me self-quarantine from the rest of the world. However, I will not let myself dip. The moment I let myself do that it will be a very miserable existence for me."

"Even if the situation passes how is the company going to make any profits? It would be wise to look out for something new at this point of time, but the markets are so bad that it is unlikely that anyone would be hired at this time," the woman said, fearing that many jobs could be impacted due to the losses caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

"At this time, there is nothing we can do about it. A lot of companies have asked their employees to go on leave, some have been asked to go on unpaid leave as well. There is a huge uncertainty when it comes to retaining one’s job or even getting paid the next month salary. We are living in a state of fear," she added.

During the discussion, the lady said there is no reason for getting discouraged because of the flare-up and that individuals need to remain protected and persuaded.

"I’m going to concentrate on healthy eating; I’m going to start cooking again which is very therapeutic for me. I’m also going to look for freelancing opportunities because I know when a lot of companies are not hiring people they might want to look at freelancers to complete the job at hand," she hopes.

While it is absurd to expect to anticipate the financial misfortunes activated by COVID-19 pandemic, it is probably going to prolonged affect worldwide economies including India.

What to do, if you are a pregnant woman?

Guidance from ICMR - National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health Jehangir Merwanji Street, Parel, Mumbai

ICMR recommends special caution for pregnant women In terms of vertical transmission (antenatal or intrapartal transmission from mother to baby), new research now suggests that vertical transmission is possible, while the proportion of pregnancies affected is uncertain. “It is important that pregnant women abide by social-distancing measures and as much as possible communicate with doctors through teleconsultations,” said Neerja Bhatla, a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the AIIMS. “Their family members should also take special care to practice social distancing.”

Effect of COVID-19 on Pregnancy 

  • Pregnant women don't seem to be more likely than the general public to develop the infection. Furthermore, pregnancy itself affects the body's immune system and overall reaction to viral infections, which may also be associated with more serious symptoms and this should be the same for COVID-19.
  • Documented cases of pregnant COVID-19 pneumonia are milder and have a strong recovery. For certain forms of corona virus infection (SARS, MERS), for particular during the last trimester of pregnancy the risks to the mother tend to escalate.
  • Pregnant women with heart disease are at highest risk (congenital or acquired).
  • The corona virus epidemic increases the risk of prenatal anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence. It is critically important that support for women and families is strengthened as far as possible; that women are asked about mental health at every contact
  • Pregnant women should be advised to increase their social distancing to reduce the risk of infection and practice hand hygiene.

The online tips from physicians at the AIIMS, New Delhi, are intended to help physicians and nurses around the country in handling COVID-19 pregnancies that are projected to rise in numbers as the epidemic is that.

Doctors achieved a scientific feat at a government hospital in Navi Mumbai by delivering a boy whose mother was found to be COVID-19 positive on April 5, 2020 pregnant woman, who recovered from COVID-19, delivers healthy child in Kerala. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was sharing the news at a press conference on 11 April 2020, said that mother and child are safe and sound."

According to WHO, people with COVID-19 and breastfeed if they wish but should ensure hygiene during nursing, if a mask is available, wash hands before and after holding the infant, and regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that they have handled.

Experts have an opinion that pregnant women should try and divert the mind from fake news that runs through social media, as it can create more anxiety. It is best for pregnant women to focus on the elements that they can control, including self-care and physical distancing. If a woman is experiencing significant mental distress, it is vital to speak to a doctor, midwife, or counselor.

In India women's self-help organizations are battling the COVID-19

Ms. Farhat, a Self Help Group member working at Koel Apparel Park, Palamu, Jharkhand. Women’s self-help groups (SHGs) have come to the fore as foot soldiers in India's fight against COVID-19 (Coronavirus). So far, more than 19 million masks have been produced by some 20,000 SHGs across 27 Indian states. (source:

"Women at the center of development have been an important story in South Asia. In these extraordinary times, when we are all united in our fight against the COVID-19 virus, these women’s groups are playing a critical role" Junaid Ahmad, World Bank country director in India

Women Self Help Groups are funded by the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) of the Government of India, which is co-financed by the World Bank, has come up against the unprecedented threat of the COVID-19 (Corona virus) pandemic. They address shortages in masks, sanitizers and protective equipment, running community kitchens, fighting misinformation and also provide far-flung areas with banking and financial solutions.

"Across the country, women's SHGs have risen to this extraordinary challenge with immense courage and dedication,” said Alka Upadhyay, Additional Secretary in India's Ministry of Rural Development, which manages the NRLM.

Image Caption – 1) Doctors at the BBMP maternity hospital in Sriramapura spread awareness and quell Covid-19 fears among expectant mothers. Credit – Pushkar V

Image Caption – 2) Ms. Farhat, a Self Help Group member working at Koel Apparel Park, Palamu, Jharkhand. Women’s self-help groups (SHGs) have come to the fore as foot soldiers in India's fight against COVID-19 (Coronavirus). So far, more than 19 million masks have been produced by some 20,000 SHGs across 27 Indian states. (source:

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