Yukon Status of Women Council to research effect of pandemic on women, gender diverse people

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Aja Mason, executive director of the Yukon Status of Women Council, said the $75,000 research grant it received will be used 'to understand how and why the pandemic has impacted women and gender diverse people's livelihoods and well being in the Yukon.' (Submitted by Aja Mason - image credit)
Aja Mason, executive director of the Yukon Status of Women Council, said the $75,000 research grant it received will be used 'to understand how and why the pandemic has impacted women and gender diverse people's livelihoods and well being in the Yukon.' (Submitted by Aja Mason - image credit)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, some research shows it's been especially hard on women and gender diverse people.

Now, the Yukon Status of Women Council is hoping to get more concrete numbers on exactly how much it has hit this group, after the council received a $75,000 grant to conduct research on the topic. The funds stem from federal money set aside to help better understand the impacts COVID-19 is having on the territory.

Aja Mason, the executive director of the Yukon Status of Women Council, said the study will examine what she calls a "shadow pandemic."

"There's a lot of research from other jurisdictions pointing to this notion of a 'she-cession' — the idea that over the course of the last almost two years, the impacts that COVID[-19] have had a disproportional impact on, in particular, women and folks who are tasked in our society with doing a large portion of underpaid work," she said.

"We see that for many people who, before the pandemic, were already in a position where they were experiencing domestic and intimate partner violence. That escalated because of the added isolation that the lockdown and pandemic has caused."

The research will look into how the pandemic has led some people to be even more cut off and isolated from their safety networks, Mason said.

Research is set to start with a survey, and Mason said researchers hope to get 200 people to take part. The research is also being done in partnership with Dr. Fiona McPhail of the University of Northern British Columbia.

"The objectives of this research, really, is to understand how and why the pandemic has impacted women and gender diverse people's livelihoods and well being in the Yukon," Mason said.

Respondents will be paid for their time, and anyone interested can contact the Yukon Status of Women Council. A final report is expected in March of 2023.

"We're very grateful for this particular grant and recognize that in order for the Yukon to promote a gendered and resilient and definitely an inclusive recovery to COVID in the Yukon, we need research to drive those policies," she said.

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