A Message To Our Inspiring Automotive Women: 5 Ways to Help Other Women

It is essential to recognise that the pandemic is affecting all our lives in ways we would never have imagined. But this article simply focuses on ways that it may be detrimentally affecting women in particular. 

 

Amidst the panic buying and food hoarding due to the coronavirus pandemic, food banks are seeing a significant decline in donations and some are being forced to close. People who rely on food banks to feed their families will face hardship. According to the Heriot Watt University’s “State of Hunger” report for the Trussell Trust, hunger and food bank use disproportionately affects women; they are twice as likely to be food insecure as men because they are more likely to skip meals so that their children can eat. It is also important to note that single mothers account for a fifth of all food bank users. 

According to the Young Women’s Trust at the time the pandemic struck over a million young women were already struggling to live on low or no pay, with 1 in 4 of them skipping meals every day  They state that women are more likely to be in precarious unprotected contracts in cleaning and caring roles, and will be extremely economically vulnerable at this time.

The charity Women’s Aid has raised the alert that the lock down due to Covid-19 will have a serious impact on the lives of women and children who are at risk of abuse.  They have advised women of the “Silent Solution” system for those who are afraid an emergency call will be overheard. It enables a person at risk to call 999 without speaking, but press 55 to activate an immediate urgent response.  Women’s Aid encourages anyone who is concerned about the safety of a friend or family member to encourage them to reach out to their online forums for support, and to call 999 in an emergency. They advise strongly against ever challenging the perpetrator directly about their behaviour because this could escalate the abuse further.

The Mental Health Foundation claims that women are three times more likely than men to experience common health problems, and rates of self harm amongst women have tripled in the last two decades.  Young women are three times more likely than young men to experience post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. As many news outlets have reported, we are all living through an extremely stressful and anxiety inducing time that may well be disproportionately affecting women.

Our Inspiring network is a grassroots movement that connects women from within and beyond the automotive sector. We aim to inspire and support each other to fulfil our true potential. During these troubled times I have no doubt that our network of Inspiring Automotive Women can have a huge positive impact on the lives of other women by taking just a few simple actions from this 5 point plan;   

  1. Take care of yourself and your own health and wellbeing before you help others. Like the advice on the plane about using the oxygen mask yourself first in an emergency, you are of no use to others if you are incapacitated first
  2. Donate to food and cleaning products to food banks on the few trips you make to the supermarket, or even better, donate cash to a food bank charity such as the Trussell Trust 
  3. If you are fortunate enough to be able to, keep paying those who may rely on you for an income such as a cleaner at least a retainer to keep going through this period 
  4. Remember social distancing only applies to physical distance not communications. Pick up the phone to reassure someone who is appearing anxious, and help them to focus on what they can be in control of and not what they can’t
  5. Be alert to and supportive of women at risk of domestic abuse in your family and friendship group and ensure they are aware of the help available to them

So as well as staying safe and well, please think of how a simple little gesture could go a long way to help other women at this time. 

 

Article written by Julia Muir, Founder of Automotive 30% Club

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