For Immediate Release
Charlottetown, October 2, 2020 – October marks Women’s History Month in Canada, and today the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women is pleased to release a new report, Gender and COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island: In the Words of Women-Identifying Islanders, March to July 2020. The insightful report features poignant and political reflections on PEI women’s local lived experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stories, recommendations, and analysis come from over 20 participant women’s voices.
Advisory Council Chairperson Debbie Langston, says, “Back in the spring of 2020, Council members were checking in regularly throughout the lockdown, and we set a priority on sharing our stories about this historic moment we are all living in.” Later, she says, a public call from the Public Archives and Records Office for people to submit their stories from the pandemic cemented the Council’s commitment to putting something in writing.
Langston continues, “So often, the voices of women and marginalized groups are hard to hear in history. It is hard to find us in the archives. Our Council members wanted to find a way to ensure women’s voices were included in the history we are recording today of the global pandemic we are experiencing. It is such an extraordinary time.”
The report features brief interviews with each of the nine currently appointed members of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and a summary of themes from a roundtable with Council members and staff that also includes points of view from interviews with nine past Council chairpersons. The report is now available for download at peistatusofwomen.ca.
The Gender and COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island report also highlights insights for policy that came out of the discussions. Langston says, “As important as it is to create a document for history, it is also important to us to contribute to decision-making today.”
She says, “As we look to ‘Renew PEI Together’ and recover from the social, economic, and health effects of the pandemic, we need to hear the experiences of all genders and groups that experience discrimination.” She notes the policy insights were submitted to the Premier’s Council for Recovery and Growth and the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in September.
“The pandemic and the public response to it are affecting different genders differently, and unequally,” Langston says. “Participant after participant in this project observed ways women are bearing the brunt of the health and economic effects of COVID-19. They also identified the ways the pandemic has shed light on not just gender inequality, but racial and economic inequality.”
Langston concludes, “The stories and insights participants in this study provide tell us a lot about the gendered effects of the global pandemic. There is such a risk of losing ground on equality gains and going backward. We think telling women’s stories about their experiences can help shed light on the path we need to take for greater equality in the future.”
For more information about the report Gender and COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island: In the Words of Women-Identifying Islanders, March to July 2020, please leave a message at the offices of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women at [email protected] or 902-368-4510.
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PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
902-316-0905 cell (Friday, October 2)