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Covid-19 exposing women to greater health risks


Covid-19 is exposing women to greater health risks, threatening livelihoods, exacerbating gender-based violence and forcing women and children into extreme poverty particularly those living in the most marginalized communities, said by Columbia University Medical Center Public Psychiatry Education Director and Clinical Psychiatry Associate Professor Dr.Stephanie M. L Melle here on Saturday.

She delivered a keynote address in a global workshop on “Stress Coping: Strategies to De-stress” organized by GITAM Deemed to be University Women Empowerment Cell. While referring to various recent covid19 studies she said that globally 54 % of women lost their jobs during the covid pandemic and in India and the USA the job loss rate is 5.7% women, 3.1% men. She mentioned that 10% of working women missed work weekly because of childcare needs.

She informed that the covid pandemic international stressor indicating that 75-90% women labour unpaid globally which is leading to more financial stress on families and domestic violence, she added. She suggested that equal access to education for girls, reproductive rights, digital inclusion and access to health care will reduce the stress on women.

GITAM President M. Sribharath said that the Covid-19 pandemic caused tremendous psychological pressure on students and the academic community but lack of awareness to face the problem they are facing a unique set of challenges that affect their wellbeing.

He informed that GITAM is taking all precautions by creating various platforms to handle the stress. GITAM Vice-Chancellor Prof. K. Sivaramakrishna said that health is influenced not only by the physical body but the spiritual, mental, social relations are equally important.

Columbia University Psychiatric Integrative Services Director Dr. Sasidhar Gunturu said that procrastination, overtly worried about the future and difficulty getting things done are called as pandemic brain fog and 76% of Americans are facing the problem. He suggested that health literacy, mental wellbeing, self-awareness, physical activity healthy eating, rational and responsible use of products will help people to handle stress.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Center for Excellence in Teacher Education Associate Professor Dr. Gomathi Jatin advised that diary writing is a reflective space where teachers can reclaim their wellbeing and become the authors of their own personal and professional narratives.

She also said that diary writing offers teachers the chance to download the day from their mind and onto the page to give concreteness to emotional experience and allow them to turn negative feelings into positive ones. GITAM School of Gandhian Studies Director Dr. Nalini Bikkina said that certain levels of stress is needed to live to face the challenges and career growth. She observed that women show more resilience in the face of professional stress, bounce back quicker and are mentally healthier.

GITAM Women Empowerment Cell Chairperson Prof. Surekha Challa, Workshop Convener Dr. Swathi Chikkala briefed about the present pandemic situation and narrated how the women academicians facing stress-related problems in higher educational institutions.

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