The Anti-Tribalism Movement hosted an event on the Impact of COVID-19 on UK Horn of Africa Women . The aim of the event was to establish a dialogue and share our key findings and recommendations. We shared the health and socio-economical gendered impacts of the lockdown on the Sudanese diaspora based on a recent survey by Shabaka about the affects of COVID-19 on the Sudanese diaspora in the UK as well as ATM’s policy brief, which focused more on the Somali and Ethiopian diaspora.
Women’s Physical & Mental Wellbeing
From a cultural perspective, women from the Horn of Africa cope with more responsibilities and pressures in their household than men. This pressure led women to experience mental health issues, isolation, feelings of loneliness and other symptoms of depression during the pandemic. In terms of physical health, women faced difficulties in accessing health care assistance during the lockdown. As one respondent explained “I was not able to access health care for non-Covid related issues”. Women are also more exposed to the virus due to their jobs in the care, catering, and cleaning sectors (Anti-Tribalism Movement, 2021, p.4). This exposure led them to sacrifice their jobs for the well-being of their families.
Bearing the Brunt of COVID-19’s Socio-economic Impact
Socio-economically deprived ethnic minority communities are challenged with various burdens during the pandemic. For example, they have disproportionate mortality and morbidity rates, significant reduction in or loss of their income and access to education. But more women -from the Horn of Africa- than men have lost their source of income due to COVID-19. In addition, women are more likely to have been pushed into poverty (Anti-Tribalism Movement, 2021, p.5). That is a result of the barriers in reaching government or local council support and services. Language and digital literacy are two of the main blocks to accessing information and assistance. Finally, the panel discussed the increase of domestic violence during lockdown, which is an issue to be investigated in a deeper and more focused sense. Surprisingly, the gendered findings and recommendations offered by the Anti-tribalism Movement were parallel to Shabaka’s, and other panelists’ suggestions.