From: Patris Pustina
Albanian Women Affected Most by Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected Albanian women, according to a UN Women rapid gender assessment survey.

The survey took place from April 17 to April 26 and involved 1300 people from various age groups, family status, and location.

Three in 4 women have seen an increase in unpaid domestic work. 46% of women and 67% of men reported receiving “more help from their partner,” additional proof that the burden of unpaid domestic work fell disproportionately on the shoulders of women.

More than half of the women surveyed worked remotely, in contrast to only 27% of the men. Meanwhile, half of the self-employed women that lived with children reported that they had to make sacrifices to the expense of their working time during the pandemic. On the other hand, the risk of unemployment was felt in more or less equal amounts by both men (17%) and women (13%). Nonetheless, nearly 15% of those surveyed reported having lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Half of those surveyed reported a reduced income from their employment, whereas ⅔ reported loss of income from farming. 74% of the women who relied on remittances saw a decrease in that regard during the pandemic. Overall, respondents expressed concern that if the lockdown continued the majority of them would face difficulties in affording basic expenses, rent and utilities.

One in five of the people surveyed faced difficulties in accessing medical services, with 51% of women and 43% of men struggling to obtain personal protection medical supplies during the pandemic. Young women aged 18-24 reported the highest difficulty in gaining access to health services and medical supplies.

Women also reported being disproportionately affected by the pandemic and lockdown with regards to their mental wellbeing. 69% of women and 57% of men reported feeling psychological distress. The active working demographic (35-44 years old) saw the largest gender gap in this respect, with 72% of women reporting aggravated mental health in contrast to 58% of men. On the other hand, the portion of women in rural areas (77%) who experienced psychological distress dwarfs the percentage of women in urban areas (50%) who reported the same challenges by 27 points.

Additionally, as elsewhere in the world, Albania has also seen a significant increase in domestic violence during the lockdown, with the national domestic violence helpline receiving 975 calls in April 2020, in contrast to the 312 it registered in April 2019.