The report found over 90% of migrant and refugee women experienced multiple hardships as a consequence of COVID-19, including financial stress caused by unemployment and reduced income, housing insecurity, family separation and isolation from communities as well as discrimination in accessing government support, increased hours of unpaid care work, and difficulty accessing healthcare. The combined impact has left mental and physical toll.
“The pandemic has exposed the gendered nature of disaster – the disproportionate impact on women at work, at home and in community. The diverse needs of Victorian women must be at the heart of all disaster planning, response and recovery decision making,” said Tanja Kovac, CEO at GEN VIC “If we don’t want to leave migrant women and children behind in the race to full vaccination and to create equity in healthcare, we need a permanent multi-lingual health education workforce. It just makes sense.”
“We have advocated throughout the pandemic that we need to listen to migrant and refugee women if we are to emerge from this crisis as a healthier and more equitable community,“ said Dr Adele Murdolo, Executive Director at MCWH. “This report demonstrates migrant and refugee women’s leadership in action, it shows that migrant women are the solution and that understanding their experiences is central to an effective, community-based, preventative response to the pandemic.”