Focus Group: Identifying the Impact of COVID-19 on Victorian Women – 2nd Feb

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You are invited to take part in the GEN VIC research project:

“Identifying the impact of COVID19 on Victorian women in rural and metropolitan Victoria.”

What is the purpose of this research?

COVID-19 continues to effect women and girls differently to men. This is because the pandemic is amplifying pre-existing inequalities in health, employment, caring responsibilities, economic security, mental health and more. COVID-19 will continue to impact women differently as we head into a recovery phase in Victoria. The purpose of this research project is to better understand the gendered impacts and experiences of COVID19 across different regions of Victoria so that we can tell women’s stories to influence social reform for a gender equal recovery to the pandemic.

What does my participation involve?

  • Participants will take part in a 90-minute focus group via online video conferencing platform: Zoom. Focus groups will be limited to 8 participants per session.
  • If you decide to take part in the research project, you will be asked to sign a release and consent form once you have registered for one of the focus group sessions.
  • All participants will be paid $50 for their involvement.
  • Our facilitators will ask the group a series of questions on the impact of COVID-19 as a woman. The format will ensure that participants have an opportunity to share their experiences with other women as well as hear one another’s stories.
  • Each session will be recorded. The stories and information collected in each session will be passed on to GEN VIC to be part of the wider research findings from across Victoria.
  • Participants will be sent a Zoom event link upon registration.

How to Register:

Women’s Health Loddon Mallee are facilitating three focus groups over February.

Focus groups will be held at the following times:

2nd February, 11:30am-1pm

8th February, 1:30pm-3pm

12th February, 10am-11:30

To register for any of these focus groups, please go to: https://women_and_covid_research.eventbrite.com.au

Other relevant information about the project

  • The focus of the online interviews will be the experience of being a woman during lockdown and recovery, including the challenges and difficulties, and also the positive experiences.
  • The findings from these interviews/focus groups will contribute to the Australian literature on the effects of lockdown and recovery on Victorian women and will be used in local and statewide advocacy for a gender equal recovery.
  • The project will recruit anyone who identifies as a woman within the local regional area of the partnering member organisation aged 18 and over. The focus groups will reflect the experiences of women differently affected by COVID19 and will include women from a range of marginalised backgrounds, such as women with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, migrant and refugee women, LGBTI women and women of different socio economic status.

More about the research:

The response of governments to COVID19 is a gendered problem. Family violence, women’s economic security, homelessness, mental and sexual health and caring responsibilities have all been affected in gendered ways during the crisis. Through ABS data, other quantitative research, case studies in the media, and anecdotally, we know that women have, and continue to be, disproportionately impacted by COVID19 compared with men. For instance:

• Women have higher rates of unemployment during COVID19 with women’s full-time unemployment rate sitting at 8.7 per cent, which far higher than men’s at 6.1 per cent (6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, Jul 2020)

• During COVID19, women are experiencing higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress than men (ABS, 4940.0 – Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, 29 Apr – 4 May 2020.)

• Women are performing more hours of unpaid caregiving, where 64% of families relied on parent-only care in comparison to 30% of families before the pandemic and the division of care between mothers and fathers did not see a significant change during the pandemic (Australian Institute of Family Studies 2020)

• Women are depleting their superannuation at a higher rate than men when withdrawing emergency COVID19 funds, this is significant as female workers already retire with 40 per cent less superannuation on average, compared to their male counterparts (Industry Super Australia (ISA) April 2020)

Furthermore, we know that governments have not adequately responded to the pandemic in a gender equal way.

We have an opportunity to be able to tell stories which we see and hear from within our local communities of the struggles that women are encountering and to feed these back to government and the media to help paint an accurate picture of the impact of COVID19 on women, in turn influencing social policy and investment for a gender responsive recovery.

Focus groups will look at issues including, but not limited to:

– economic security

– caring responsibilities

– work/life balance

– housing and homelessness

– mental health and general wellbeing.

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