According to the latest data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, more women have been diagnosed with COVID-19 than men, and more women have died as a result. As of May 15, 55 per cent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are women, and 45 per cent are men.
Of the total deaths, 53 per cent are women and 47 per cent are men.
The provinces with the highest number of cases and deaths — Quebec and Ontario — also have starker gaps between the genders, according to daily provincial epidemiologic summaries.
In Ontario, currently around 57 per cent of those infected are women, while close to 42 per cent are men. Similarly, in Quebec, close to 60 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases are women and around 54 per cent of deaths are also women.
This kind of data stands out from other countries who track coronavirus cases, as the vast majority have had more men than women die of COVID-19 since the emergence of the virus, according to Global Health 50/50, an organization out of the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health in London, England.
Why more women are possibly dying
It’s difficult to discern why women are being more affected by COVID-19 in Canada, but there are several factors that could impact how the virus impacts different genders, says Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto who specializes in infection control.
One possible reason could be because there are more female residents in Canada’s long-term care homes, where the brunt of the cases and deaths in Canada are concentrated, Furness said.
Eighty-two per cent of Canada’s COVID-19-related deaths have been in nursing homes, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Data published in 2018 by Statistics Canada found that women were more likely to be widowed than men, and were more likely to be living in a nursing home or seniors’ residence.
The difficulty of measuring the impact of coronavirus on minorities in Canada
Other countries are not seeing their long-term care homes ravaged by COVID-19 to the extent that Canada has. A study by the International Long-Term Care Policy Network published this month found that compared to 14 other countries, Canada had the most COVID-19-related deaths in long-term care.
Along with a higher representation in nursing homes, women are also more likely to work in “caring” professions that involve a lot of interaction with other people, Furness said.
This includes jobs like personal support workers (PSWs), like those who work in long-term care homes, he said. A recent study on PSWs in Canada found that workers are largely women and people of colour and/or immigrants.
A report published in February by the Ontario Health Coalition found that Ontario is facing a shortage of PSWs as many leave the profession due to being overworked, underpaid or injured on the job.
Last month, after a second PSW in Ontario died due to COVID-19, the union representing health care workers across the province blamed their deaths due to a lack of available personal protective equipment (PPE).
A report by Global News in April also found that long-term care homes across the country are struggling to access PPE.
Intersection of race and gender
It’s also important to assess exactly which women are being impacted by COVID-19, said Suzanne Sicchia, an associate professor at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
If data on race and socioeconomic status is collected, it’s likely to show women of colour are being disproportionately impacted, she said. More women of colour are employed as personal support workers in Canada, and research has found that people of colour often have worse health outcomes.
Canada should also be collecting data when it comes to the care work women do, personally and professionally, she said.
“Paid or unpaid, women’s care work, for the sick and elderly at home, in their extended family, in their communities, is another possible source of elevated risk of infection,” Sicchia said.
Many often think health is shaped by lifestyle choices or genetics, which are important. But it’s crucial to remember there are a multitude of other factors that shape the health of individuals or populations including income, employment, social status and racism, Sicchia said.
While more women in long-term care along with the number of women working as care providers are factors, it’s difficult to make concrete assessments without consistent data being collected by governments, Sicchia said.
“Undoubtedly there are other determinants at play, and this is why more research and the collection of race-based data and data on other intersecting determinants of health is so important.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
The Gender War amongst Us
The United Nations define gender-based violence as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women and other persons, including threats of acts of violence, coercion and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
Gender-Based Violence is a global public health problem that challenges and affects the morbidity and mortality of women and the LGBTQ Community. It is estimated that 30% of women and 85% of The LGBTQ have experienced at least one form of GBV in their lifetime since the age of 15. The United Nations study among Women of reproductive age revealed that Intimate Partner Violence(IVP) ranged from 15% in Urban Regions(ie Japan) to 71% in Rural Regions (ie Ethiopia)Evidence reveals that this problem is most prominent in developing nations where socioeconomic status is low and education limited, especially in sub-Saharan Africa countries.
Gender Prejudice and Violence directed towards Women and The LGBTQ Community is globally widespread, even within the well-educated populations of the developed world.
Gender-Based Violence is a common practice in Africa, Asia and developing nations in Latin America. Most African Cultural beliefs and traditions promote men’s hierarchical roles in sexual relationships and especially in marriage. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the African population live in rural settings which increases the difficulty to access basic amenities and communities are isolated from the influence of central governments or the laws that prohibit GBV. Despite legislative advances, GBV remains pervasive and a daily reality for Women, Girls and THE LGBTQ Communities. Within Rwanda, many Women and Girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence and oppression including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, early and forced marriages, genital mutilation and human trafficking.
Gender Biased Violence directed towards The LGBTQ Community is high within African society, where their lifestyle may appear as a challenge to other males’ masculinity or gender understanding. Within the Latin Community, such violence exists but is far less felt than in areas within Africa. The Latin Worlds’ understanding of masculinity seems to vary, appearing to be more accepting of “the different”. Many Latin Males have multiple gender partners even within marriage. African attitudes are far more conservative and unyielding.
Gender Politics have shaped our world, moving from ancient acceptance of the power and influence of Womanhood to a place where religion became the excuse to oppress Women and other elements of society like the LGBTQ Community. Humanities’ move toward freedom and self-expression has been squashed by the manipulative, powerful masculinity of Mankind. Impressions of a controlling, protective society show us what we are to believe and how we are to live our lives.
Equality, self-determination and self-expression for Women and the LGBTQ Community still remain important aspects of the developed world’s policymaking and implementation. Within the continents of Africa, Central and Latin America, and some Asian nations government policymakers attempt to legally establish the necessary laws to protect their populations, but cultural, political and societal traditions and prejudices have entangled themselves within these nations’ evolutionary movement towards equal rights and gender democracy. A Gender War remains among us, within us, allowing prejudice, fear and hate to shape our society. Like all wars, there are many casualties, but with education, determination and the hand of justice applied, this war can be won.
Journalists in Canada face 'alarming' levels of stress, trauma and harassment, report suggests – CBC.ca
Members of Canada’s news industry are suffering “alarming” levels of work-related stress and trauma, a new report suggests, and researchers are calling for better supports to help journalists cope with covering COVID-19 and other crises.
The findings, based on 1,251 voluntary responses to an online survey conducted between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18, 2021, showed that media workers have dealt with high rates of mental health conditions over the past four years.
Sixty-nine per cent of respondents reported anxiety, 46 per cent said they had depression, and 15 per cent said they experienced post-traumatic stress injury.
The lead researchers on the project said the report underscores how the upheaval of a pandemic-accelerated news cycle has exacerbated the pressures of working in a profession steeped in competition and tragedy.
“Our findings confirm our worst fears and suspicions about the industry,” Carleton University journalism professor Matthew Pearson said at a news conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.
“The onus is now on all of us — from the front lines, to newsroom leaders, executives and journalism educators — to grasp the gravity of this situation and meaningfully address it to reduce the harms Canadian media workers are suffering on the job.”
Co-author Dave Seglins, a CBC News journalist and mental health advocate, said the information age has ramped up stress for journalists facing more demanding workloads and perilous job security, while also opening the floodgates for online misinformation and harassment.
More than half of participants surveyed said they had experienced online harassment and threats, and 35 per cent said they had encountered harassment in the field.
The harms of harassment were particularly pronounced among women, transgender and non-binary journalists, the report said. Black, Arab, South Asian and Filipino journalists reported higher rates of online harassment. Workers who were more identifiable as members of the media, such as video journalists and photographers, were more likely to be targeted in the field.
The survey also indicated that exposure to trauma is taking a toll on media workers, with 80 per cent of participants saying they’ve experienced burnout as a result of reporting on stories about death, injury and suffering. Some participants also reported experiencing other emotional and psychological side effects, such as suicidal thoughts or “numbing out” by using alcohol or other substances.
More than half of participants said they had sought medical help to deal with work stress and mental health, while 85 per cent of those surveyed said they had never received training on mental health and trauma at work.
The “suck it up” culture of many newsrooms deters journalists from seeking help to manage their struggles due to fears about how speaking up could impact their careers, Seglins said, and many employers lack the expertise, resources and benefits needed to support journalists’ well-being.
He urged news organizations to collaborate with workers to identify and redress these gaps to ensure the proper functioning of the Fourth Estate.
“All of this is having a profound impact on the health of people who work in the news industry — the watchdogs of our democracy,” Seglins said.
The Canadian Press provided images for the report, and the survey was distributed to Canadian Press employees.
The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error.
Canada donates $1 million to probe sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine
OTTAWA — Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.
Ten RCMP officers, and Canadian civilian law enforcement experts, are helping to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual violence by Russian troops.
Global Affairs Canada said the extra money could be used to help fund specialist sexual violence investigations and to protect victims who may be witnesses in war-crimes cases.
The funds may also be used to provide psychological support for victims.
Joly said it was important that Russian troops who have used sexual violence against Ukrainians be brought to justice.
“Canada condemns in the strongest terms the use of conflict-related sexual violence and we will continue to work with partners such as the ICC to end impunity for these heinous crimes,” she said in a statement.
“Those who commit sexual violence in conflict situations must be held to account.”
At a meeting in Ottawa earlier this month with Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, Joly discussed the need to treat Russian troops using sexual violence as a weapon as war criminals.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Joly said 10 RCMP officers would help gather evidence of rape and sexual violence by the Russian military.
Linde said Sweden has also sent “experts on investigating sexual and gender-based crime” to help the ICC with its war crimes investigation. They are interviewing refugees — “mainly women and girls and children,” she said — as witnesses.
Ukraine’s ambassador designate to Canada told members of Parliament earlier this month that Russia is using sexual violence against women and children as a weapon of war.
Yulia Kovaliv told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on May 2 that Ukraine is compiling “horrific documented evidence” of war crimes.
“The horror is that children are victims of these sexual crimes, which are done (before) the eyes of their parents,” Kovaliv said. “Sexual crimes is part of the Russian weapon (against) Ukraine.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published 26, May, 2022.
Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press
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