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BAME women disproportionately suffer financially and psychologically from COVID-19

A recent poll has found that Black, Asian and minority ethnic women in the UK are suffering harder financial and psychological hits than their white counterparts.

Data collected by Survation on behalf of the Fawcett Society suggests that BAME women are suffering the impacts of the pandemic disproportionately.

The new data is based on a poll of 3,280 people including white men, white women, BAME men and BAME women.

Worryingly, BAME women as a whole were most likely to believe they would end up in more debt after the outbreak, as well as struggle to make ends meet in the next 3 months - this includes worries over rent or mortgage payments.

In addition, the survey found that BAME women reported the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness.

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This new data is indicative of government failings to tackle the issues of systemic racism and structural inequalities and as a result BAME women, in particular, are suffering.

Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "It is time for us to all talk seriously about the racism disadvantage some women face compared to the privilege of others, and take action".

In a time where BAME communities are under serious and disproportionate threat from a global pandemic, the unjust murder of George Floyd during such unprecedented circumstances has ignited raw and pressing action by BAME and other communities in the UK to fight for change.

It is time that those in power begin to do the same and no longer avoid the very real issue of systemic racism. Governments must endeavour to tackle these challenges head-on.

The poll also found that of those having to go out to work, concerns about having to do so was highest among BAME people, with 65.1% of BAME women and 73.8% of BAME men reporting anxiety about doing so. These figures are significantly higher in comparison to 60.9% of white women and 52.9% of white men who responded in the same way.

The figures truly highlight how being able to "enjoy" the government-enforced lockdown is based on a hierarchy of societal position. For example, many occupations that keep our United Kingdom running - and more crucially so during the coronavirus outbreak - are largely carried out by people of BAME backgrounds; our cleaners, bus drivers, nurses, and so on, are occupied by many black and ethnic minority Britons.

With the UK being the worst-hit region in Europe and suffering the most deaths from COVID-19, it is no surprise that members of the BAME community are so anxious about their current - and post-COVID - situation, considering that official statistics suggest BAME people are more at risk of dying from COVID-19.

It is the ethnic minorities on the front line that are most likely to suffer the dire consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. With BAME people occupying many key workers roles, fewer people of these backgrounds can feel safe and secure during the pandemic, particularly in comparison to white Britons.

Understandably, these concerns will lead to psychological stress and financial worries and concerns, both presently and in the future.

The polarising effects of this crisis are driven by existing structural inequalities and discrimination that underlies our society. Something must be done and must be done soon.

To get this process underway, it may be worth looking at how we can remove barriers to social security, increase economic support that effectively reaches Black, Asian and ethnic minority peoples, as well as procedures we can put in place to ensure that people can work or isolate safely.


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