Historical Snapshots from the Pandemic

4 November 2021
Historical Snapshots from the Pandemic

Almost a year ago, on 18 December 2020, GEST hosted its first Alumni Online Seminar in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, which at the time had already had an immense gendered impact on women in various communities throughout the world. However, given that many social factors surrounding the pandemic were still relatively unclear at the time, many predictions about the gendered consequences of COVID-19 were still based on conjecture or insufficient data.

The purpose of the seminar was to record and document evidence-based historical snapshots of gendered localities from the peak year of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries and communities that often fall off the radar when global health crises are discussed in the Western hemisphere. Today, almost one year on, we look back at how the gendered impacts of COVID-19 were documented by three alumni to the GEST programme, each detailing an important and specific historical and geopolitical locality. Shamim Nampijja asserts the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls with disability in Uganda, while Nadhiya Najab analyses the gender dynamics of remote work in the wake of the pandemic in Sri Lanka. And Chinenye Anekwe uses a mixed methods study to determine the impact of COVID-19 on rural clean energy women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

These reports serve not just as important documentation of the global pandemic as it is currently unfolding, but will be of value to historians and activists seeking to better understand particular historical and geopolitical circumstances in the future.

Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19: A Study on Women and Girls with Disabilities in Uganda
by Shamim Nampijja - Download PDF

This report examines the impact of COVID-19 on women with disabilities in Uganda and the response measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The findings present the different experiences of women with disabilities who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The findings have been divided into different thematic areas to ensure that the readers understand the situation of women with disabilities in Uganda during the pandemic and how to bring about reforms in the response measures.


The Balancing Act: Gender Dynamics of Remote Working in Sri Lanka
by Nadhiya Najab -
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This research seeks to understand if the shift to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka resulted in a shift in the income generation activities, and care responsibilities, with a particular emphasis on households with children in primary or lower-secondary education. The research  compares across single-income households, households where both parents were employed, and households with extended family support in order to understand if household compositions affected the traditional gendered responsibilities.


Women Entrepreneurs in Nigeria: A Mixed Methods Study
by Chinenye Anekwe -
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This study reveals the experiences of rural clean energy women entrepreneurs (women living in rural communities, who run clean energy enterprises) during the pandemic COVID-19. To protect the gains made so far in the clean energy sector, interventions like provision of funds for start-up and working capital, training on online-based business models, as well as bridging the gender technology gaps for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) women in the energy sector need to be considered.

This study employed a mixed-method design. A quantitative method was used in analysing secondary datasets on responses collected from consenting clean energy women entrepreneurs, examining the concern and effects of COVID-19 on the clean energy business. Moreover, a qualitative method was used to collect and analyse semi-structured interviews with eight rural women clean energy entrepreneurs, in addition to two business mentors for validating findings. Results showed that most of the women had very restricted access to financial sources during the heat of the pandemic. In addition, the sales of clean energy products were severely affected due to movement restrictions and the prohibition of large gatherings which were platforms for sales for the women. This affected the income of the women and subsequently their livelihood and mental health. Some reported that the stress of the pandemic on their businesses put some level of strain in their family relationships which consequently impacted their self-esteem negatively. Most of the women also had no access to relief support during the pandemic hence becoming more vulnerable due to the pandemic.