India’s cowardly gender gap: Women lag behind in vaccination drive | Global development

Campaigners and academics have warned that deep-rooted structural inequalities and normative values ​​are responsible for India’s alarming gender vaccine gender gap.

As of June 25, of the 309 million doses of the vaccine given since January 2021, 143 million women have been given the drug, compared to 167 million men. CoWin, India’s National Statistics Site. 856 Dose ratio Women for every one thousand given to men. The difference is not in terms of India’s gender imbalance One thousand men out of 924 women.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, with the largest population in rural areas, has administered 29 million vaccines. In this figure, which includes the first and second doses, 42% were given to women. West Bengal, the fourth most populous state, also lags behind women in 44% of food intake. In western India, there is one notable difference between Dadra and Nagar Haveli, a particularly rural union area: only 30% of vaccines were given to women. Daman and Deo, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir are among the other regions that have performed poorly. A handful of states, including Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, have given more food to women than men.

Data on transgender people, non-binary people, or people of other backward sex have not been accurately tracked, with all groups falling into a single category of “other”.

“Women are not seen as an important part of the family, community or social structure,” she said. [The vaccine gender gap] For Asia Pacific Executive Director and Plan International, Gender Change Policy and Implementation is a reflection of gender inequality in India.

Sofia Emad, a junior fellow at the Mumbai-based think tank IDFC Institute, has researched vaccination attitudes among the urban poor in Mumbai and Pune. “There are many reasons why women are unable or unwilling to get vaccinated,” she said.

“Rumors about side effects are reluctant, and how the vaccine affects fertility and menstruation,” Emad said. “But there are other factors for which women do not have access to the technology required for registration, where the centers are or do not know that they cannot go to the centers alone.

“Women also often need their husbands’ permission to get vaccinated. Even if they get this thing, if their husbands are not available to meet them; they lose.

A woman walks through street art in Mumbai, India, protesting against the spread of cowardice.
Mumbai, Street art reflecting measures to curb the spread of coyote. Many vaccination centers are not far from homes, making it difficult for women to access them. Photographers: Francis Mascarenhas / Reuters

Ram Kumari, “I didn’t even know we had to register on the phone. I don’t have a smartphone. My husband has one, but I know how to use it,” said the 26-year-old from Grogram, Haryana. Don’t know

He added: “I want to get this vaccine, and I thought of going to a government hospital, but walking is a long way. I have no way to get there, especially alone.

The Fifth National Family Health Survey, conducted in 2019-20 Shown a Specify digital gender distribution. In the survey, 58% of women never used the Internet, compared to 38% of men.

Julie Thekoden, a women’s rights and gender justice expert with more than 18 years of experience, said: “Most men do not consider it important to register their wives on OneApp. Their health is not considered a priority. And if they do not work outside the home, then they are not considered a threat.

He added: “Mobility also becomes a problem if public transport is not readily available, and [the vaccination centre] Unable to walk, what can working class women do?

According to the story, women report that in many mixed-sex households, men are preferred to be vaccinated. Neerja Sharma, 46, from Jaipur, Rajasthan, said: “My husband thought it was appropriate to vaccinate him first. Because of the potential side effects of CoveShield, he had to take care of me while I was sick. And if I got sick with it, who would cook and take care of the house and our son?

India - Health - Virus - Vaccines On June 25, 2021, in a camp set up outside a Hindu temple in Hyderabad, people are queuing for the registration and prevention of the Covid 19 Corona virus vaccine. (Photo by Noah Salem / AFP) (Photo by Noah Salem) via Getty Images / AFP)
On June 25, 2021, people lined up outside a Hindu temple in Hyderabad to get vaccinated. Photo: Noah Saleem / AFP / Getty

Another concern for many women is that information about side effects and ways to deal with them is not readily available in language or format. There are also unfounded fears that the vaccine could lead to infertility, or even menstrual cramps, especially in rural communities.

Emad said: “A lot of the information that women get through WhatsApp is unreliable. Women have two concerns – one is that you can’t get vaccinated during menstruation, and Second, vaccination will affect your future cycles.

“Accredited social health workers have not been trained on the Code 19 vaccines, nor have they been provided with any communication materials. They need access to the content of social health workers to address grassroots concerns. کرسکیں۔

As companies prepare to return to work in person, vaccination has become a priority for workers. A Covid-19 Vaccination Trends SurveyLaunched in India in April this year, more than 50 per cent of the companies plan to provide vaccinations to their employees and their dependents.

However, a A study published in March by Kariya University in Andhra Pradesh It was found that 93% of rural women and 77% of urban women are in informal employment, where most employers do not see it as their responsibility to ensure that employees are vaccinated against polio.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said anyone could go to a vaccination center without having to prioritize the app, making it more accessible to women.

But Thikoden said more needs to be done to close the gender gap. We need to encourage walk-ins and door-to-door vaccinations. We also need to produce public health awareness materials, translated into regional languages ​​and illustrated. It is important to put this vaccination drive in ‘mission mode’.

“It’s not just a matter of access,” said Dengel of Plan International. “[We have to] Pay attention to the social norms and root causes that create this gap. And it needs to start with young people: are we teaching our children stereotypes like women in the kitchen? A comprehensive curriculum is just one of the ways in which we can begin to address gender inequalities that lead to such differences in the larger scheme of things.

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