A tale of working women at the time of COVID-19


Hafsa Mustansar
AS the COVID-19 pandemic reaching to
its height, it transformed the life of ev
eryone especially the working ladies. It has even changed the pattern of family life. The era of the 21st Century is still in a shambles relating to the issues of women. Life under lockdown is varied from one woman to another. Everyone is battling with this sudden outbreak because it is affecting all of us. It has brought certain opportunities and challenges: the women that wanted to take a break from their tiring routines completely enjoying this time of the Corona and others are facing unprecedented difficulties. Let’s explain some folklore of women about the prevailing situation. In some cases the lockdown soothes the life whereas exhausted the life of mostly low-income women and take away their financial freedom. The first thing that distorts the comfort of their life is the increase of responsibilities, the care work. Women are meant to be the backbone of the home. But now, overburdened, they are going through the harsh times. The low-income housemaids are also suffering a lot, due to this pandemic, they are losing their jobs. The most severe challenge working women are facing is the opening of offices amidst the lockdown. Public transport is not in motion, everyone is forced to take costly private locomotion ie taxi or personal vehicle. Moreover, school teachers are also undergoing from this agonized situation because of the unnecessary criticism from parents of school children. Online classes are going on, due to which the parents become more accountable. Indeed, it is a challenging situation for teachers and hinders freedom of teaching styles.
Working from home nowadays become the trend in this global pandemic; Zoom meetings and working online are creating difficulties because performing the home chores and office work simultaneously pose a dual challenge. In this connection, the health of women is at stake because they are burning the midnight oil to organize the lives of their families. The women are more concerned about their children’s upbringing and their education. hence, under lockdown the situation of children is becoming worse with the passage of time, their education is on the verge of the danger curve. Indeed, Covid-19 is testing the spirit of human beings and the patience of women. The tale of the Corona has two aspects: a source of relaxation for some (i) and, simultaneously, a source of disarray for the rest (ii). Furthermore, these hard times are also targeting the life of women both economically and socially. All clothing and shopping brands are closed down that torn away the fun time of women. These factors have a great impact on the mental health of women. The women who wanted a break from the busy life are now entertaining at home spending quality time with families. No doubt life under lockdown has its pluses and minuses. Some women exploring their hidden talents by making delicious food and soothing the taste buds of their family members, whereas some are finding tranquillity in making innovative things including paintings, calligraphy, stitching and so on.
Because of the lockdown, the rate of quarrelsome also increases among men and women ultimately resulting in bitterness in relations. The women who do not love to cook are going through hard times. As a matter of fact, women are easily prone to stress, frustration and boredom. In the backdrop of the existing situation, it is obvious that other than Corona infections, people are too sensitized about some negative psychological effects. In this time of chaos, there is a need for equal participation in every sphere of life. After all, we are all in this situation. The strong belief about the harmful impact of the coronavirus already led people towards vulnerability. Some women are the only breadwinner of their families; they are going into a depressing situation because their savings may not be sufficient for extended time. As women are living in a state of apprehension there is a need for some leisure activities for them. They are unable to express lament and keep all grieves with them.
Women have different roles in their life being a mother they have to give complete attention to their children, being a wife they have to take case of their spouse and above all being a working lady they have to give complete attention towards the responsibilities of office work. To keep all the things and duties on the right track, women should need to balance their lives. They do not need to worry about the fulfilment of their responsibilities. Women should keep calm in the time of chaos by maintaining the health routine on a priority basis—do exercises, yoga, and some meditation. One should not forget to take care of herself. Give yourself some quality time by doing some masking or cleaning because in the end that matters a lot is just you. I hope this pandemic would end up soon and normalize daily life. Only thing that makes a difference in this situation is our positive response towards the outbreak. Stay sanitized and keep taking precautions to battle with this unprecedented circumstances.
—The author is working at COMSATS, Headquarters, Islamabad.

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