Gendered pandemics: suicide, femicide and COVID-19


The purpose of this article is to offer a collocation of COVID-19 alongside two adjacent calamities that will likely increase during and after public health responses to the pandemic: suicide and femicide. Both of these forms of violence are patterned and predictable, both of them will manifest in divergent and distinct ways during the chaos of COVID-19, and both are highly gendered. In this article, we characterize the virus, theoretically align suicide and femicide as preventable forms of violence due to the circumstances of the pandemic, and suggest a way forward. We assert that suicide rates will increase for women and girls to unprecedented levels as a direct result of pandemic public health measures and it is also our contention that the gendered impact of COVID-19 will lead to an upsurge in another harm induced by the global health order to stay at home: femicide. In a landscape of competitive catastrophe, we call attention to two social facts that kill: suicide and femicide, and we urge global leaders to attend to prevention now, because for many women and girls, even though we have found a vaccine, it may be too late.

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