The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for women, especially during the first wave when many of them lost hours at work or even their jobs outright.
As the second wave hits Quebec, the consequences are still being felt: poverty, isolation and distress are just a few examples.
“The context of the pandemic highlighted inequalities that were already existing, but it came to exacerbate them”, explains Anne-Valérie Lemieux Breton of the grouping of women’s groups in Quebec.
For decades, Élisabeth Germain has fought for the conditions of women. 2020 has been a particularly different year.
“Because they are the ones who have had to assume a lot of extra care, because it is always the women who take care”, says Mme Germain.
“We haven’t lost a lot of jobs in the services. Those who remained, the jobs were the most dangerous and it was the women who were there, ”adds Élisabeth Germain.
During the first wave, twice as many women as men lost their jobs, according to Statistics Canada.
“The women, they work for the most part fewer hours per week than the men considering that they are also assigned to the domestic role”, explains Emmanuelle Chaloux, of the organization ROSE du nord.
Community workers painted a disturbing portrait of the situation on Saturday, as many women gathered in Quebec City to demonstrate.
“It’s not easy to [vivre] distress daily. We would like not to have to be resilient, but we have to be resilient anyway, ”says Mme Chaloux.
Women feel like they’ve been forgotten in an economic recovery that affects more traditionally male fields
“Once again, we are completely leaving women behind,” laments Anne-Valérie Lemieux Breton.
“The famous revival, we would put a lot of male jobs. So we would leave women in poverty, ”believes Élisabeth Germain.
Faced with the pandemic and its consequences, these women fully intend to continue to carry their message.