UN: Covid lockdowns unevenly affecting women’s mental health in Asia-Pacific

Bangkok, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- Covid-19 lockdowns disproportionately affect the economic situations and mental health of women, who are at risk of becoming more vulnerable due to the pandemic, according to a United Nations Women study in 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a press release Tuesday, the UN agency said non-salaried work, unemployment, the loss of income and an increase in gender violence during the pandemic were factors contributing to the deteriorating mental health in women, especially those aged between 10-24.

The study collected information from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, Samoa and Thailand.

A total of 70 percent of women interviewees in urban areas said they were suffering from mental health problems, compared to 52 percent of men.

Women in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives and Nepal in particular suffer from a lack of outdoor space and cramped living conditions which do not allow them to exercise or look after themselves properly, the research found.

Researchers also found that a greater proportion of women — 35 percent, compared to 31 percent of men — have seen their working hours reduced, while 63 percent have seen non-remunerated tasks such as housework increase, compared to 55 percent of men.

Some 66 percent of women reported a reduction in their savings, investments and capital, compared to 54 percent of men, the study, titled Unlocking the Lockdown: The Gendered Effects of Covid-19 on Achieving the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific, said.

The UN Women report seeks to gather data to help develop with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, and highlight areas where governments can step in to address gender issues.

Director of UN Women for the Asia and Pacific region, Mohammad Naciri said: “As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded, we saw time and again news stories about contagion and death rates.

“Data from UN Women’s rapid assessment surveys, however, showcases that the consequences of Covid-19 expand well beyond physical health. More women are seeing their mental health affected and are having more trouble seeking medical care and accessing medical supplies.”EFE-EPA

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