COVID-19 In Rural & Marginalized Areas, Episode Seven
Women are at a particular disadvantage in this pandemic. According to the UN, their lives are negatively affected differently from their male counterparts. For example, the demand for women as uncompensated care workers in the home is three times that of men, especially in places like Mexico’s rural and indigenous communities.
MEXICO & HIDALGO & PSYDEH
For the last five years, PSYDEH has helped indigenous women leaders to build their own network of organizations to lead the bottom-up development of their own communities. Among these civil society outfits is Flor del Bosque representing the municipality of Tenango de Doria, Hidalgo, and led by women like Agustina and Marcela. These women’s stories speak to what most of our local female partners face during COVID-19.
For many years now, Agustina has cared for her parents suffering from multiple illnesses in large part because of where they live; rural places simply lack good health services. About 12 months back, Agustina left her community to live in a marginal area outside the state capital of Pachuca where she could make money and access better services and transportation. Agustina is both a public leader and artisan making a living off her sale of embroidery. Unfortunately, Agustina explains, “Since March, no one has placed an order, and I have had no way to sell any of my pieces outside my region.”
Marcela, the primary caregiver for her family since her husband migrated north without papers to find employment almost 20 years ago. Her children are now basically adult men and women. Like Agustina, Marcela is an excellent embroidery craftswoman and been unable to sell any of her pieces during the pandemic. “Because of local government rules, most plazas and tianguis (markets) have been closed for months. I have no place at which I can sell my work and no other real way to bring money in.”
For women like Agustina and Marcela, the pandemic-induced rise in household demands and the collapse in the sale of their goods threatens to reverse the progress made in women’s participation in economic life, limiting their ability to support themselves and their families.
What to do?
(1) Because this growing economic crisis has been and remains a health crisis, encourage civic leaders to implement the better practices outlined in this report (page 53) by the Fondo para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas de América Latina y El Caribe (FILAC).
(2) We call upon the government to ensure that there are immediate economic relief measures and these must honor the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of race and gender such that women are not left behind, particularly women from the most vulnerable groups.
(3) Double down on investing in civil society actors like PSYDEH facilitating bottom-up, women-led efforts like our Agustina and Marcela-led network, our embroidery social enterprise activity, or our short-and medium-term focused COVID-19 project for which we just started crowdfunding.
Global resources on rural and marginalized and indigenous communities and COVID-19 were uncommon a few months back but there are now numerous solid materials available. We suggest these English-language pieces from the last two weeks.
- In this webinar, we learn about how Mexican nonprofits collaborate across sectors to alleviate the pandemic’s effects along the Mexican-USA border.
- This Washington, DC think tank briefer discusses how the pandemic makes people poorer.
- This graph explains clearly why daily life will not return to normal anytime soon.