Coronavirus Sexism. Biology, Lifestyle, and Coping.
Sexism is everywhere, including the coronavirus, but this time men aren’t winning. The numbers show the death rate for men is almost 1% higher for men than women. 1.7% for women and 2.8% for men, China CDC reported. Why would this be?
It doesn’t come as a surprise to medical researchers. Disease does affect genders differently.
Some reasons are biological and some are lifestyle choices.
Biological Coronavirus Sexism
Researchers aren’t sure exactly why yet, it may have something to do with women having a bit more ooomph so we can pass antibodies to our children. The flip side (because there is always a flip side) is that 80% of auto-immune diseases are also suffered by women. Our systems are so good, they turn on us occasionally. Not good.
But when a respiratory virus comes along, like SARS, MERS, even the great flu of 1918 it consistently kills men at a substantial rate higher than women. It is clear that when it comes to a body fighting infection, women are superior.
Now, the the lifestyle coronavirus sexism.
These latest Coronavirus numbers are of course coming from the Chinese CDC. In China, almost 50% of the male population smokes. Only 2% of the female population smokes. That’s something. Men also have higher rates of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Men put off going to the doctor longer than women do and fewer men wash their hands regularly or use soap.
Maybe women are judged on the wrong biological criteria. Open a pickle jar or fight infection? Run the fastest or survive a pandemic.
I pick survival. But it doesn’t feel good to me. There’s no sexism win here. Many of those I love and care for are men.
Coronavirus Sexism Coping
Now let’s quickly visit what happens for those of us who don’t die. The survivors who have to cope with day to day living.
“As the virus spreads globally, it appears women are bearing the brunt of the social and economic disruption.
The vast majority of nurses, flight attendants, teachers and service industry workers are female, and their jobs put them on the front lines of the outbreak. At home, women still do more caretaking, so when the virus closes schools, restricts travel, and puts aged relatives at risk, they have more to do. “The challenge of the emergency really puts additional strain on existing inequalities,” says Laura Addati, a policy specialist in women and economic empowerment for the International Labor Organization. “If there’s not already an egalitarian sharing of child care or housework, it will be women who are responsible for remote school, for ensuring there’s food and supplies, for coping with this crisis.””
Sounds like we all lose with Coronavirus.
Everybody, right now. Go wash those hands, be kind, help one another, and spread love and comfort whenever you can.
If you want to learn more about domestic inequalities, go here.