GoldenBee Insights

Women——the Great Wall in the Pandemic

source:GoldenBee    date:2020-03-26 17:14:38

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the women who fought in the forefront built the most beautiful wall against the pandemic, which is like roses blooming in the headwind.

So far, more than 40,000 medical workers have come to support Hubei Province from all over the country. Statistics showed that 75% of them were nurses, and more than 90% were women. According to the report of Kunming Chinanews on February 24, 10 batches of medical workers with 1,156 people from Yunnan Province went to Hubei Province, among them, 804 workers were women, accounting for 69.5%.

In the pandemic, the strength of women medical staff is enough to be named as "the Great Wall".

According to a public opinion monitoring system, since February, the information about women medical staff has shown a certain degree of dissemination on the Internet and had multiple peaks. These public opinions reflect people's attention to gender equality and their misunderstandings about gender equality. The value of women in the pandemic has not been correctly recognized and respected.

Eliminating overt and covert discrimination

On February 17, to support the pandemic control in Hubei Province, the third batch of women doctors and nurses from Gansu Province shaved their heads. The video led to a heated debate on the Internet.

In the one-minute video, the sound of the camera is in sharp contrast to the tears of the girls, which caused headache, criticism and controversy. Although the organizers later claimed that the girls were "voluntary", they couldn't quell the anger on the Internet.


The reason for the criticism of this news is that there has never been a requirement for male doctors and nurses to shave their heads among the medical teams in the support of Hubei Province. In contrast, two women doctors and nurses voluntarily shaved their heads before, and they looked very happy in the photos they exposed on the Internet. Thus for those aggrieved girls shown in the video, "voluntary" action is hard to believe.

"Gender equality" is the core content of the Goal 5 of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Target 5.1 proposes to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere. In China’s National Plan on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, "to raise public awareness of gender equality and eradicate all forms of discrimination and prejudice against women and girls" is also an important content.
According to the definition of "discrimination against women" in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, gender discrimination refers to any distinction, exclusion and restriction made on the basis of gender, and its influence or purpose is enough to prevent or deny that women, married or unmarried, recognize, enjoy or exercise their political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other rights and fundamental freedoms on the basis of gender equality.

In terms of the above news, highlighting the behavior of women medical staff shaving their heads implies the purpose of "creating sensational effect with gender difference", which is the root of public anger.

Formal equality is not real equality

Ignoring the physiological characteristics of women, then the rights of men and women were believed to be the same and based on the male standards, men and women were expected to adopt the same rules and standards. The "formal equality" is not the real gender equality.

Formal equality, which does not take the physiological differences between men and women and social cultural differences into account and provide any extra or special measures for women, creates greater pressure on women who have to work in accordance with male standards.

In the pandemic control, the information about donating materials to meet the physiological needs of women has been widely concerned. The information is meaningful. Female medical workers should not only be considered as medical staff, but also as women with special needs. The society should take care of women's special needs in a positive and delicate way.

The reassurance package prepared by Guizhou medical team for women medical staff was widely praised, and then all medical teams did the same thing. This is because if the same conditions, treatment and requirements are used for all people, regardless of the special physiological characteristics of women, it would lead to unequal results actually.

Empowering women to participate effectively in making decision

There is a close relationship between gender equality and organizational performance. Researches show that the management team with women members, as a whole, has a higher sense of risk aversion and a stronger robustness.

Among the Women’s Empowerment Principles jointly proposed by UN Women and UN Global Compact, the first of the seven principles is to "Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality".

Target 5.5 of SDGs proposes to "ensure women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life." In the China’s National Plan on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it proposes to "formulate and improve laws, regulations and policies that promote women’s participation in decision making and management. Expand channels of women’s participation in decision making and management. Intensify the efforts to cultivate and promote women cadres. Facilitate women cadres in taking the leadership role in important sectors and key posts. "


In this pandemic prevention and control, many women have taken on the responsibilities of leaders, for example, Sun Chunlan, vice premier of the State Council, goes to the foreline to guide the battle against the pandemic, Li Lanjuan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor of Medical Department of Zhejiang University, etc.

We hope to see more such examples, and see that excellent women staff in all positions can play their strengths and get greater empowerment.
Correspondingly, we need to be aware of "protective equality", that is, to assume women as the weak and protect women excessively by excluding women or restricting women's rights, resulting in a long-term adverse effect on women's career development.

On February 25, the United Nations Human Rights Council held a high-level symposium in Geneva to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by the World Women Conference in Beijing. Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, made a welcoming address. Chen saluted the women workers in the forefront of fighting against the COVID-19, and he emphasized that they are models of women and are vivid portrayal of the progress of women's cause in China.

This is undoubtedly the best evaluation for all women medical staff fighting in the pandemic.