Policies for all

Since the sudden enforcement of lockdown that asked people to “Stay Home”, and saw offices, restaurants, cinema’s, community spaces across the country close, there was little to no acknowledgement to how this decision would impact those most vulnerable in our society. This vulnerability spans from domestic abuse victims now trapped indoors with their abusers, to single mothers in full-time employment with caring responsibilities and new teaching duties, self-employed freelancers and those on zero-hours contracts with little to no financial security from their employers.

Government response to Covid-19 has ignored the reality of many. If the assumption is that individuals in our society have access to safety, shelter, and essential amenities, this surely signifies they see these as fundamental parts of human rights. Yet, meeting these needs falls short in policy implementation, which have not been geared to match their presumptions.

 

Women are unfortunately among the ones suffering the most from this disproportion. It is a reality, and although those in power have a thorough understanding of this discrepancy, our legislative policies lack in fundamental gender mainstreaming – they are gender neutral. This does not work. We must look at the gendered perspective of social issues and apply policies that will offer effective support, where women are equally factored into the debate. Patriarchy has indoctrinated mainstream society with the belief system that anything male is universally applicable and anything female is valued as a minority. Women have not been considered into the discourse, and in times of crisis, this exacerbates the ‘one size fits all’ approach of government decision-making. Women’s needs have been viewed according to the needs and collective interests of men that continue to be prioritised over women’s.

Those living in the margins of society are always at the end of the agenda. Women along with the poorest, migrants, minority ethnic communities… and as artist displayed below Craestor amazingly illustrates, sex workers.

4 page black and white comic | Ink on paper | Edited digitally | 30″x30″ | £80

Sex Work and the Shutdown

“While these are uncertain and scary times for all of us, it is now more than ever essential that we protect and solidarise with the most vulnerable members of our society – such as womxn in the sex work industry. For many sex workers in German brothels, the coronavirus shutdown means losing their income and housing all at once, forcing them into a highly precarious situation. This comic draws attention to the specific issues that sex workers have to deal with these days. It links with Sheroes in Quarantine because it examines the struggles of womxn that tend to be overlooked in mainstream media and reminds us once again how urgent the demands for human, health and labour rights within the movement are.”

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Sheroes is a collaborative project that highlights hidden herstories through the arts.

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Sheroes is a Lon-art project. Copyright © Lon-art.org 2019.  All rights reserved.

Craestor

Christina Claes aka Craestor (she/her) is an artist- anthropologist from Berlin. In her academic and creative work she explores the way we make sense of the world through visualisations and storytelling. This includes examining the potential of graphic narratives for a new approach towards bodies, genders and identities. Christina Claes holds an M.A. in Anthropology from the Humboldt-Universitaet Berlin and she has participated in numerous feminist art projects. Her work has been on display in London, Hamburg and Barcelona.

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