So a whole year of Covid-19 has passed and we are still mired in the thick of it. This is what I wrote at the outset, in March last year (Issue 1/2020): ` … these are extraordinary, unsettling and troubling times. Coronavirus has now become the new global reality and is dominating our public discourse and private conversations`. That has not changed; if anything, it has intensified at all levels.
In the early days, there was talk of `severe restrictions on movement of people` and `curfews, quarantines and lockdowns`. All this has happened, in varying degrees, and is continuing more or less, with intermittent relaxations, wherever you may be located. At least now we can see a ray of light at the end of the tunnel, because of the rapid development of the Covid-19 vaccine. How it came about, and is being rolled out nationally and internationally, is another story. But of course the pandemic has thrown up all kinds of issues, domestically and worldwide.
On the UK home front right now the topic that keeps coming up time and again is the twofold focus on the BAME (Black Asia and Minority Ethnic) phenomenon: first, the pronounced vulnerability of the people so described to catching the virus and, second, why some among them are reluctant to have the Covid-19 vaccine. On the latter point, what tends to be overlooked is that vaccine scepticism is not confined to them, that it is fairly widespread within the general population not only in Britain but also in countries such as Germany, France, and the USA.
‘Women in the Pandemic’ is our cover story for this issue which focusses on Women. It is globally accepted that women are bearing the worst brunt as the Covid-19 virus continues to ravage humanity. We have selected a few incidents to highlight the real life situations in our part of the world but we are also gratified that amidst the despondency, we found truly inspiring stories of women leaders and organisers stepping out to conquer the adversity. It is an accepted fact that there has been a lower number of Covid-19 deaths in female-led nations and this has been attributed to women’s ‘empathetic and decisive’ styles of communication and the reality that ‘they react more quickly and decisively’. Some writers have given readers the figures and statistics of the spread of Covid-19 in Africa.