Voice of The City: Exposing privilege during a pandemic

Advocating for social justice should not stop because of COVID-19—it should get stronger.

Keisha Jefferies is a registered nurse and PhD candidate in the Dalhousie School of Nursing who is fortunate enough to work from home. She is from New Glasgow and has clinical experience in neonatal nursing and breastfeeding, as well as international research and health policy experience. - SUBMITTED
Submitted
Keisha Jefferies is a registered nurse and PhD candidate in the Dalhousie School of Nursing who is fortunate enough to work from home. She is from New Glasgow and has clinical experience in neonatal nursing and breastfeeding, as well as international research and health policy experience.

  In the past couple of weeks, Canadians have watched earnestly as COVID-19 developments rippled across the country and around the world. Like some of you, I have been glued to press releases, news updates, social media and commentaries surrounding this pandemic. Currently, all provinces and territories have declared some sort of state of emergency—resulting in various restrictions placed on social events, bars, restaurants, gatherings and borders. 

While all this has been happening, the coronavirus pandemic has revealed telling inequities across race, class, gender and age.

We are right in the midst of this pandemic and there is no changing that. However, as Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, has indicated, we have a narrow opportunity to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing.  

Social distancing asks for the active avoidance of gatherings and large events. And now, it’s expanded to include restrictions around visitation, getting people to work from home and, in NS, limits gatherings to no more than five people. 

In a two-parent home, it is likely that a woman will end up working from home. Our class divide means that people in the “lower/lower-middle-class” are the ones who have lost jobs, had their hours greatly reduced or are simply less likely to be able to work from home. We also know that Black and Indigenous folks are less likely to be employed in positions that allow working from home.  

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