Miscellaneous (한 + EN)

The pandemic and gender inequality

2020-12-02 00:40

But for the 10 years leading up to 2019, the number of suicides had been decreasing in Japan, falling to about 20,000 last year, according to the health ministry -- the lowest number since the country's health authorities started keeping records in 1978.

The pandemic appears to have reversed that trend, and the rise in suicides has disproportionately affected women. Although they represent a smaller proportion of total suicides than men, the number of women taking their own lives is increasing. In October, suicides among women in Japan increased almost 83% compared to the same month the previous year. For comparison, male suicides rose almost 22% over the same time period.

There are several potential reasons for this. Women make up a larger percentage of part-time workers in the hotel, food service and retail industries -- where layoffs have been deep.

... Compounding those worries about income, women have been dealing with skyrocketing unpaid care burdens, according to the study. For those who keep their jobs, when children are sent home from school or childcare centers, it often falls to mothers to take on those responsibilities, as well as their normal work duties.

... the most common messages were from mothers who were feeling stressed about raising their kids, with some confessing to thoughts of killing their own children. These days, he says messages from women about job losses and financial difficulties are common -- as well as domestic violence.

— Wang, S., Wright, R., & Wakatsuki, Y. (November 30, 2020). In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020. And women have been impacted most. CNN.