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By Kadeem Joseph

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As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is underscoring the important role that women are playing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

PAHO Director, Dr Carissa Etienne, explained that women are playing a “multifaceted role” during the pandemic, noting that women provide important healthcare and other essential services all whilst being caregivers at home, and “very often they are the breadwinners.”

The doctor added that globally, women make up about 70 percent of health workers, while in Latin America and the Caribbean, nine in ten nurses are women.

“That means that women are the heart of the pandemic, and many of them become ill themselves with Covid-19, and many have died,” she said. “So therefore, we believe that they must be at the centre of the response at all levels.”

President of the Nurses Association, Soria Dupie-Winston

Dr Etienne also believes that women’s leadership in and for health will accelerate gender equality in the context of Covid-19, as well as in other fields.

President of the Nurses Association, Soria Dupie-Winston, said that women have always played a major role in medicine, and while traditionally nurses have been women, females have progressed to occupying other major roles such as doctors, laboratory workers, emergency room technicians and other major fields in the healthcare sector.

She explained that women choosing jobs that are traditionally seen as male roles expand beyond medicine and into many other fields.