The exacerbation of violence against women as a form of discrimination in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic

Elsevier, Heliyon, Volume 7, March 2021
Valencia Londono P.A., Nateras Gonzalez M.E., Bruno Solera C., Paz P.S.
The crisis provoked by COVID-19 has rapidly and profoundly affected Latin America. The impacts are seen not only in infection and mortality rates, but also in the economic decline and increased inequality that plague the region, problems which have been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. Women, in particular, constitute one of the groups most heavily impacted by the pandemic, facing higher rates of unemployment and furloughing due to structural discrimination and a subsequent increase in economic dependency as they are forced to return to traditional unremunerated occupations like caregiving and homemaking. However, it is the increase of direct violences that has received the most media attention and remains the most visible manifestation of the impact of the pandemic on women. Nonetheless, in countries like Mexico and Colombia, said violences are compounded in contexts of criminal violence which make the public sphere more dangerous than the private. Thus, this article focuses the analysis on the structural factors that consign women to a reality in which they permanently face discrimination. This article analyzes the behavior of violence against women in the period of pandemic in the cases of Colombia and Mexico from the perspective of horizontal inequality. It emphasizes that violence against women is a form of discrimination that inhibits the full exercise and enjoyment of one's rights (Interamerican Court of Human Rights [ICHR], 2009). Finally, the responsibility of the State is evaluated in relation to granting women access to emergency assistance and the administration of justice. It is argued that violence against women is a continuum, the most extreme form of which is feminicide, permitted by the failure of the State to guarantee equal protection for women.