Vulnerability in Lockdown: Women and Agency During the Global Pandemic

/ 01 March 2022 | By Petra Brown and Tamara Kayali Browne /

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many daughters, sisters, aunts, wives, and mothers found themselves with additional caretaking duties, and many were also vulnerable and unsafe in different constellations of relationships. Lockdown exacerbated this vulnerability. It also heightened stress, as vulnerable women were required to be constantly alert and risk aware in their reconfigured worlds. This not only included women in unsafe intimate relationships but also digital vulnerability for women as life moved online, economic risk for casually employed women unable to work from home, and even increased exposure to misogyny for female political leaders navigating polarizing and volatile political communities. Whilst lockdown provided opportunities for some to reconnect with themselves and loved ones in positive ways, women experiencing vulnerability had little time and/or few opportunities for self-reflection and positive relationship-building.

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