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Why do women in Armenia get more infected with coronavirus?

It should be reminded that at the June 18 sitting of the government, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, referring to the fact that a larger number of women in Armenia are infected, also conditioned it with their active internal contacts.


“There is an old custom when coffee drinks are organized at the entrances, which is a very popular and colorful habit not only for Yerevan, but also for other cities in Armenia. I have been thinking for a long time about the reason why the number of infected women is higher than that of men. There are two reasons for this: one comes from the textile industry, but I think this circumstance also plays a significant role, as women are more active in internal communication. And we must draw attention to this issue, “Pashinyan said.


Social media users unequivocally accepted Pashinyan’s justification. Many of them reminded the Prime Minister that in the healthcare system and in the service sector, women make up a large number and are in the highest risk zone. Others targeted women and began accusing them of labeling them “BBC of blocks” and other expressions.


In a conversation with WomenNet.am, human rights activist Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, a representative of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women, described the Prime Minister’s observation as unfair.


“It means that women are to blame for being infected because they gossip, but do we have time to drink coffee?”, -she responds by listing the most important reasons that have been overlooked.


“We have to be sensitive and be able to see what role women play in our country, how busy they are and why they are so vulnerable. The reason is that women mainly take care of the infected and the patients who are at home, after all, they are in the risk zone. If men can be away from the infected person and have less contact with him, then the care of the patients is mainly provided by the housewife, ”says Z. Hovhannisyan.


Women are also at higher risk for other reasons, for example, most health care workers – doctors, nurses, midwives are women. Besides, most of the workers and cleaners in the trade points are women.


Women do most of the housework, including shopping, other household chores, disinfection and processing of purchased goods, cooking, which increases their risk of infection.


What do the statistics show in Armenia?


As of June 24, about 60.5% of those infected in Armenia are women. The Ministry of Health provided such information in response to a written inquiry from WomenNet.am. As of 5 pm on that day, 22 thousand 562 cases of coronavirus infection were registered in Armenia, 13 thousand 644 of them were females.


The ministry did not specify the reason for such a ratio. “It is impossible to comment, as no research has been conducted,” the ministry said in a written response to the editorial.


Out of the total number of infected people, 1220 are employees of textile enterprises. There is no gender gap in this number, but we can say that the majority of workers in this field are women.


It should be noted that according to official statistics, 62% of those employed in public administration, education, healthcare and social services are women, and 54% of those employed in finance and insurance are women. In the field of services, women make up 64%.


As for the number of deaths from coronavirus, in this case the number of men is higher. As of June 24, 405 people  died of coronavirus, 234 of them men and 171 women. Of the other diseases, 143 deaths were reported in coronavirus patients, of which 79 were men and 64 were women.


What does the international press and statistics prove?


The regularities registered in Armenia are noticeable in other countries as well, and there are not many publications on that topic.


The available statistics show that even in countries where there is no habit of drinking coffee at the entrance, women are more likely to get coronavirus.


For example, in Germany, as of April, the number of infected women was high: 52 percent were women and 48 percent were men. The same ratio is in Switzerland. In Portugal, 55% of infected people are women and 45% are men. In South Korea, 60 percent of those infected are women and 40 percent are men.


In France, 0.9 men were infected per woman, while one woman in need of intensive care was treated by one woman. One dead woman had 1.4 men.


Researchers in China have found that men and women are equally susceptible to COVID-19 infection, but men are more likely to suffer from severe illness and die more often. The work was published in Frontiers in Public Health.


The Guardian reports that medical staff in the Mexican capital, Mexico, have studied patients and concluded that more men are dying, while the virus is more likely to affect first-line health care workers, most of whom are women. The same pattern is observed all over the world. Most women are infected, and in some countries, such as the United States, Spain, and Italy, the number of infected women is twice as high as that of men.


Global Health 50/50 has collected gender-specific data on both infected and dead people. There is no clear pattern in the proportion of women / men among the common carriers, in some countries there are more men and in others women.


Possible causes include differences in hormonal background, higher resistance of women, increased consumption of tobacco and alcohol by men, and other factors that make men more at risk. However, experts say that the gender characteristics of coronavirus have not been sufficiently studied and examined, and that these data are needed to make the fight against the epidemic more effective.



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