Gloria, her husband and children live in Gloria’s parents’ house in Guatemala City. Currently, only Gloria is able to work to provide food to her family. To learn more about how Gloria’s family is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, watch this week’s video.
Alongside most of Latin America, Guatemala is being hit hard by the effects of COVID-19. The pandemic has piled further hardship on a population already suffering extreme poverty, violence, and years of climate change-driven drought. Many Guatemalans have lost their jobs or can’t access informal work due to strict lockdown measures. While considered a middle-income country by the World Bank, Guatemala has the second highest level of poverty in the Americas.
The economic burdens women like Gloria face during the pandemic are often still accompanied by expectations that they will bear the brunt of any additional caregiving responsibilities. A lack of child and elder care support from the state and employers was, prior to the pandemic, a major obstacle to low-income women’s economic advancement because of cultural norms that view care as a woman’s responsibility. Now, as schools close and elderly parents face increased risk from the virus, women like Gloria are placed in the position of being both a family’s main breadwinner and caregiver.