One Year of COVID-19: How Women Across the World are Coping, Managing, and Resisting COVID-19

Alright, can I start now? Thank you Dave for the music Namaste! We acknowledge the Tutelo/Monacan people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognize their continuing connection to the land, water, and air that Virginia Tech consumes We pay respect to the Tutelo/Monacan Nations, and to their elders past, present, and emerging Welcome to our webinar “One year of COVID-19 how women across the world are coping managing and resisting COVID-19” Namaste! My name is Dr. Sweta Baniya and I am an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Professional and Technical Writing at Virginia Tech University. As the chair and organizer of this program, thank you everyone for joining us today from multiple time zones and countries across the globe. If you have any technical difficulties, please contact Dave Schuh and Xuqing Wang whose contact information are on the emails we sent out earlier today. Please feel free to drop questions anytime by using Q/A feature, we will take questions at the end This event will be recorded and for accessibility purposes we have closed captions available. If you are live Tweeting this event please use our hashtag #COVIDSHEROS Let’s take a moment to remember lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe whom we have lost due to this virus, millions who are fighting against this virus, and all the first responders as well as immigrant first responders who haven’t stopped since the pandemic began last December Let’s not forget those who have lost their lives to police brutality, caste discrimination, and gender-based violence! #NavarajBK, #SamjhanaBk #NirmalaPanta, (NEPAL) #RosimarRodríguez, #MichelleRamosVargas (PUERTO RICO) #UwaveraOmozuwa, #TinaEzekewe (NIGERIA) #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTaylor #RashadBrooks (USA) and many more This month marks a year of Covid-19 pandemic which has challenged human civilization and our lives in a way we have never seen before. Like any other disasters, in this global pandemic the role of women in crisis response has been completely ignored We see interviews, feature stories, and news of many male heros and rarely female. Hence, breaking the stereotypical only male heroic narrative, this transdisciplinary feminist collaborative panel features scholars and practitioners from Puerto Rico, Nepal, and Nigeria representing the Americas, Asia, and Africa. The speakers will present on their feminist research and feminist praxis of the community work during disasters including the global pandemic We dedicate today’s webinar to all the #Sheros who are continually coping, resisting, and managing the consequences of #COVID19 I would like to thank the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech for providing me with the International Initiative Small Grants to organize this global transdisciplinary feminist event. Likewise, I would like to acknowledge the Dean of our college, Dr. Laura Belmonte and her continuous push towards transdisciplinary research, teaching and practice which helped me envision this program And, without Associate Dean Dr. Farida Jalalzai’s Global Engagement Initiative and support by the chair of my Department Dr. Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, this event, this event wouldn’t be possible It is my honor to present three outstanding panelist whose research, teaching, and practice has inspired me! 1) Dr. Ricia Chansky, Professor in the Department of English at University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez 2) Dr. Neeti Aryal Khanal, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Tribhuvan University, Nepal 3) Ms. Tosin Akibu, Program Manager at the UN-Women, Nigeria Lastly, I would like to introduce the respondent of the panel, my mentor and colleague and an amazing scholar Dr Sheila Carter-Tod, Associate Professor at the Department of English, Virginia Tech

Thank you very much, Sweta, both for that very nice introduction and for arranging this panel I am also grateful to Virginia Tech for hosting us today. And I’m very grateful to be on such a panel with such esteemed colleagues. Thank you very much. I hope you’ll bear with me as I navigate technology and do somewhat different things here in there than I’m used to. And I hope you’ll also bear with me, this is an emotional presentation for me as it is every time I talk about women in disaster, and I hope you’ll grant me your patience as I talk about some difficult issues On my presentation today, I want to talk about decolonial eating I want to talk about first, what are some of the colonial contexts of Puerto Rico that are both historic and contemporary? And how do they impact food and eating in Puerto Rico, especially in terms of food insecurity. And the idea of food insecurity is when we have groups of people who cannot access the nutritional and quality food that they need to survive? I want to focus in on up what happened during Hurricane Maria when Hurricane Maria struck in September of 2017. What did it reveal in the sense of some of the failures of food security that we have in Puerto Rico? And I want to highlight what are some of the community based groups that either sprang up or adapted themselves to new needs, and I will focus on women led community based projects of which there are many. I want to talk about how have these community based projects that sprang up in the aftermath of the hurricane, adapted themselves change themselves and grown for the new needs of the time of COVID-19? What does this mean both for Puerto Rico and for other areas in terms of how we can think about facing food insecurity in areas that are impacted by disaster? And then finally, I’ll finish up with a thought about how we can think through those as an act of feminist rhetoric. And so I’m, I’m moving towards sweater it’s very important question about the year of COVID-19 by for grounding it in the layers of colonialism and disaster that Puerto Rico has been facing over the years Um, Puerto Rico is a twice colonized space. And we can look first at Spanish colonization of Puerto Rico and the Americas. Christopher Columbus landed in Puerto Rico in 1493. On the second of his journeys, he these were spaces that were already inhabited, they were inhabited by a tiny no and our walk indigenous peoples. Christopher Columbus writes throughout his journals that he met people who were the kindest, most gentle, most docile people, and he wrote that they would be perfect for servitude and enslavement around 1500. We don’t have an exact date for that But around 1500, King Ferdinand wrote a letter to the Taino and the rock indigenous peoples, stating that he now owned all of their lands, and they were now automatically Christian there And they’re a life’s job was now in servitude to the crown. And he ended that letter by saying, if you do not agree with this, we the crown will kill you. And so this is the frame work in which contemporary histories of the Caribbean Sorry, that was my cat jumping up to get a better view of our meeting today. And so this is the context and within approximately two decades, the indigenous population was decimated, and King Ferdinand legalize the transatlantic slave trade in Puerto Rico and legalized the owning of other humans, predominantly for the support of plantation culture and a sugar economy And I’m compressing here out of necessity. So please bear in mind that this is a compressed version of this moment in history. In the 1780s, the new nation of the United States started to think about building a new

And needed a naval stronghold. And so the United States turned its attention to the Caribbean and tries to purchase or to annex a space in the Caribbean for the Navy. However, the United States is also looking at the thriving sugar economy and plantation culture and wanting to somehow control that wealth that’s based in agriculture. Um, in 1819 1898, the United States wins the Spanish American War and annexes Puerto Rico as part of that, in 1917 the Jones Act is signed and Puerto Ricans become US citizens. However, they become non voting US citizens who do not have voting representation in the United States Congress. This date coincides However, with world war one and m 236,000 Puerto Ricans registered to be drafted in World War One. I want to skip ahead again, and again, I’m sorry for compressing so many things But I want you to have a context of where we are today. In 2006, incentives that had been in place to bring industry to Puerto Rico were ended and a great deal of industry left Puerto Rico, um, do in response to this, the Puerto Rican government created a body known as cofina that started generating a number of bonds, which was borrowing funds that were unable to be paid back in order to meet that loss of revenue. Louise Fortunato in 2009. Signs last seven that is meant to curb government spending. But what it does is it cuts social welfare programs for women and children who smoke laying a foundation for the humanitarian crisis that we are in today By 2014. Governor Garcia pardon podia declares that the debt from these bonds is unpayable may 2017. President Obama signed promesa into law, it allows Puerto Rico to file for bankruptcy But it also allows this externally appointed governing fiscally governing board to control what is spent, and this board enact severe austerity measures. This is where we are in May of 2017 And I want us to think a little bit here about what does this mean in terms of food and eating, agriculture and food production are tied into colonization from the moment that the Spanish crown asserts dominance in the Caribbean Racial and Ethnic injustice in Puerto Rico, indigenous, Afro diasporic and Latina acts are linked to food insecurity over hundreds of years. capitalism and food security are not compatible. As programs designed to distribute food to vulnerable communities are often the first to be cut from a budget that has to be balanced colonialism impacts all aspects of food production and distribution. And so this is where we are in September of 2017, when Hurricane Maria batters Puerto Rico, and we have a strange meteorological phenomenon that happens in that hurricane Jose comes to the area before hurricane Maria, and hurricane Jose pacified but it’s stalled off the Mid Atlantic region of the United States because of a low pressure system. So every time he tries to leave, she meets this low pressure system from Jose and comes back. And so we have approximately 30 hours of this hurricane stalled over Puerto Rico And the other thing is that hurricane Maria arrived literally two weeks after Hurricane Irma. So hurricane Irma hit predominantly the eastern side of Puerto Rico but also damages Florida quite heavily. And so in response to Hurricane Maria on the campus of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, I began a project called Maria, Puerto Rico after the hurricane. This is a classroom based project and a colleague and myself trained approximately 100 undergraduate students in the ethical collection, transcription, translation, editing and dissemination of oral histories of disaster And this is what has kind of started my interest in disaster studies to think about how I can serve the needs of students who are survivors in the classroom by helping them become a gentle

in their home communities and take action With a a way to address what has happened, we designed a i’d signed a two semester course one that collected oral histories and then one that responded to the issues present in those oral histories. We now have a body of approximately 150 oral histories. And when I sat down to read them as a grouping, I saw that the Polly vocal narrative of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was a narrative of community responses to disaster, especially when governmental systems that are put in place to help people post disaster failed, or did not succeed to the level as expected This is a heroic body of text to say the least It within that community response to disaster, we’re seeing that there are four main areas that people are talking about again, and again, in their oral histories. They’re talking about the lack of access to potable water to clean drinking water, the lack of access to food, and that’s both agriculture, the farms that were destroyed in the hurricane. That’s both important food. Over 80% of the food consumed in Puerto Rico is important It is imported through ports in Florida that were impacted by Hurricane Irma two weeks before hurricane Maria. And then we’re looking also at communal kitchens, the rise of mutual aid communal kitchens after the hurricane We also saw extreme concerns about homelessness, and we’re breaking homelessness down into two areas house lessness I lost my house, but then also homelessness in the sense of how do we define the nation as hosts and what happens when the systems that the nation or the government have in place to help us after disaster fail? And we can’t see what how we belong to that community group. And so what are we doing now we’re currently thinking through this idea that the aftermath of this detrimental hurricane is very similar to some of the needs that are happening during this time of COVID-19 And we’re trying to understand how the two are connected, and how they inform each other. And I just want to share with you a quote that one of our narrators shared with us and this is Vivian Miranda Rodriguez, who on October 9 began delivering food to communities in Moscow and Maya was that were flooded by the Rio Grande Bay and the storm surge from the ocean She says, I’ll never forget one woman who was home with her two children The neighborhood where this woman lived was between two bodies of water, the Bay of my glass and the mouth of the Rio Grande day. Everybody was flooded there. And it was still full of water We were outside of the house at the front gate. Both my boys were standing beside me The woman was about my height. She had dark brown hair element eyes, light elements skin She looked a lot like me I asked, Have you had lunch? The woman said no. But we were about to eat some pickle Gow is the crispy, almost burnt rice at the bottom of the pot We gave her sandwiches and she started to cry She couldn’t stop hugging me. And my boys started crying too. Because it was a human moment. Mother to mother and her kids were just so happy because they were going to eat A Vivian’s narrative continues and she says the majority of the people I spoke with hadn’t seen any official help. Not FEMA, not the municipality, not a military And FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States And so these, Vivian is one example of multiple stories that we recorded in which lack of food and lack of access to food

played a dominant role in the narrative. And she is one of many people who were community members who are not affiliated with an aid organization who stood up and said, What can I do to feed others. And this is the space that becomes extremely interesting to me. So after Hurricane Maria 80% of the food in Puerto Rico that is imported reports in Florida could not arrive and could not arrive for months, the majority of farms in Puerto Rico or destroyed and the systems to distribute the food failed. They failed because of closed roads. They failed because of lack of gasoline for trucks and other vehicles to carry the food. They failed because people homes and stores in which neighborhoods would turn to to receive food and goods were destroyed And the picture that I’m showing you here is a warehouse that I and my team of students uncovered in auto cebo, which is on the northern coast of Puerto Rico. we uncovered this warehouse in March of 2019. It is a former grocery store that is piled high with relief supplies for the hurricane for victims of the hurricane. And these materials were sent in October of 2017. So they remain on distributed. There were two mash units mobile hospital units, there were four community sized water filtration centers, along with the boxes upon boxes of food, medical supplies, feminine hygiene products that you can see here And this is not the only a warehouse that has been and so I’m sharing with you a list of some of the women led community based organizations that either began after the hurricane or adapted the work that they were doing for the specific needs of the harking regada solidaria dealt with de casa Pueblo from dasun Casa Cortez Fondazione colibra as departamento de la comida, Ella Coulson Cersei and comically here comically here is the one that I want to focus on as an example, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what comically hjelle did after the hurricane but and what they are doing during the time of COVID. But I’m using it as a single example of the way in which women are leading community based groups to feed others in times of disaster and great insecurity The woman in the middle of this photograph is an amazingly special woman Her name is Lucy sadananda phone. I am privileged and proud to call her a friend, Lucy Serrano, I’m in 2014, we found at our university that a group of students were sleeping in one of the buildings And when we went to talk to this large group of students and ask, Hey, how are you sleeping in the bio building? The answer was we don’t have enough money to attend school and pay rent and school is more important. And so Lucy Serrano, in response to Lacey I’d say which cuts social welfare programs and to this realization that we had students who could not afford to house themselves and feed themselves begin a very small organization Coleman could be here, and comically help began at our university Food Bank in 2017, before the hurricane hit, this program was serving approximately 150 students After the hurricane Lucy opened the sign up to anyone who is in need. And at 1125 students, she had to close the list because we simply could not feed all of those people Since that time, Lucy has partnered with numerous other food banks, she has received grants, she has been able to buy refrigerators. And starting on December 28 2019, we began an earthquake swarm and what that means is the off the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico 1000s of earthquakes have happened over the last approximate one year. What that means is that we have people who are out of their homes and unable to shelter in place We have people who are unable to wash their

Hands in the time of COVID, because they do not have a home to go to with running water comically Hill adapted to serve the needs of those people. And then in March of 2020, the University shut down its campus operations because of COVID-19. Lucy, again, adapted the program to have touchless delivery service. Her motto is everyone eats, I want to give you a little bit of the context of what’s happening during COVID-19 Our governor closed the public schools in person service. That is a problem because the majority of our children receive food at school and that program was shut down as well. international students who were studying in Puerto Rico, were under the laws of the United States, which I don’t know if you heard or not. But initially, this presidential administration said we are not going to support international students when the campus is closed. So we had those students to deal with the earthquake swarm is still active, and our economic depression and austerity measures are still in place. Here is a brief overview of what we’re looking at for komikko ETL, as adapted to the needs of COVID You can see that the the leader Lucy is there with student volunteers and they are masked up, you can see that they’re organizing non perishable products for distribution. They’re driving the bags of non perishable goods where they can handing them off. And you can see the other thing is, there’s a poster there for a free market where you can drive up and get a free bag of food, no questions asked. I’m Lucy Serrano, this is a quote from Lucy. And Lucy saying thanks to the efforts of companies, associations, teachers, community entities, anonymous people, among many more, we have delivered 14,408 dishes of food and counting We always feel grateful for each one. Everybody Sorry, there was my technical difficulty I told you, I was going to have one. Um, and so this raises some very important questions that help us to think through the situation, who eats who is able to eat who has access to food, what do they eat, when we received care boxes of food from the United States government after Hurricane Maria, I received one and I opened it up. And there was a letter in it that said, Dear citizens of Houston, your government is with you. And so these were leftover boxes from Hurricane Harvey. And when you looked at the boxes, all of the nutritional food had been removed, and they were filled with starbursts, and Snickers bars. When do you eat when? How often do you get to eat? How much do you get to eat? What is on your plate? How much does this cost the person who is eating? And how easy is it to access the food? So these are some important questions about food distribution. And I’m very grateful to swift for asking the question of what happened this year. And I’d like to say that what happened this year is that we had previously been called to action from disaster upon disaster upon disaster, and hundreds of years of colonial contacts. And so this year, what happened was in concert with hundreds of years, but also the last few years, and these are some of the things that I have been thinking about. The women of Puerto Rico are feeding as many people as we can while thinking through self reliant practices for food production and distribution And I want to make it clear that the women I’m talking about here today are necessary heroes. They are heroes. They have stepped up in unimaginable ways but they have done so because of an abandonment from the government and unfair, unjust and unnecessary abandonment. And that does not change the fact that the people in question are heroes, but they’re heroes in the face of it

absence and failure. And so we are reflecting upon what we have learned about the incompatibilities of colonial practices and equity for all people How do we unmake hundreds of years of colonialism? working to articulate how a basic human right to food is interrupted by the systems of colonialists, structures, that tie eating to income, grappling with the instability of food production, distribution and procurement that hurricane Medea revealed. And it’s not that these are necessarily new problems. But the problems have been shown in very dramatic ways of assessing community based responses to disaster that were quickly created or adapted in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and developing long term solutions to widespread hunger and injustice that they represent We don’t want to go back, we’ve seen a problem we’ve seen a failure and to quote Lucy, no one should go hungry So how can we move forward, making sure that this does not happen, again, developing mutual aid programs that link community centers and regions, I was, I have been working with a center high in the mountains, and a center on an island off the east coast. And they’re doing very similar wonderful things. And they don’t know about each other They don’t know how to share resources, they don’t know how to share information. So how can we make sure that people know about each other and can work together and share resources, adapting our strategies for rural mountainous and urban communities, as well as those that do not have stable communication networks or utilities. Many of the groups that we work with want us to create digital components for information circularization But we do not have stable electricity, we do not have stable internet, we do not have widespread high bandwidth internet. And so we have to think about low tax or no tax ways of sharing information as well as digital components. And then creating flexible approaches for a variety of a ton of events, hurricanes, earthquakes, and global pandemics. Um, the last thing that I want to say in my presentation, and I just want to call attention to this idea that the act of feeding is can be read as feminist rhetoric. And I’d like to um, employ Judith Butler’s understanding of gender construction here in which that which is masculine is not necessarily male, and that which is feminine is not necessarily female, rather binary opposition’s and power dynamic dynamics come into play here in that within the colonial model, that which is masculine allies is that which is in power, and that which is feminized is that which is a disempowered. And so I just want to leave you with the thought that I’m reading the act of widespread feeding, as a way of undermining the dominance and power of colonialism. As I’ve briefly explained, in this presentation, when we tie who eats to who has income, we maintain the utmost power over them and their bodies, the women who have risen up in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, who have kept their momentum going, and we’re actively resisting, the boundary is placed upon them by COVID-19 And I mean that from a governmental perspective, not from a viral perspective, they resist a colonial model that seeks to disempower them So the act of feeding and the act of nourishing the nation becomes a stand against imposed control by an in this case, the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you Thank you so much, Dr. Chansky That was wonderful. I have goosebumps all over me Thank you. Thank you for providing this arena and I’m trying to stop sharing now Stop, share. There we go. Okay Thank you again. Now I like to invite Dr. Neeti Aryal Khanal for your presentation. And her presentation is titled hearing the most vulnerable stories of Nepali women COVID-19 warriors. After you Thank you so much, Sweta

I hope everybody is hearing me fine So I will be starting the screen sharing as well First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Sweta Baniya for bringing us all together to share the stories of how women are coping and resisting and negotiating the challenges posed by COVID-19 all over the world so it’s my honor to share the panel with Dr. Ricia Chansky and Dr. Tosin Akibu thank you all the participants for joining with us today So, today, I will be talking about I will be sharing about the COVID-19 warriors from Nepal, stories of Nepali women So I will be sharing my screen and I hope my screen is visible to you. I’m supposed to — First I will be talking about sharing a bit of a background and context about Nepal Because the way Nepal has experienced COVID-19 is very much shaped by Nepal’s social and cultural and economic context. So I’ll be elaborating on that. And I will be talking about how COVID-19 has impacted Nepali women and our be sharing stories of three COVID-19 sheros So, because this is an international seminar, I would just like to show where Nepal is, because this is a frequently asked question for many of us, Nepalese, where Nepal exactly is so Nepal is sandwiched in between two Asian zines India and China. It’s a small country. It’s a landlocked country in between India and China. And Nepal is also country of diversity, Nepal is multicultural, multiracial and multi linguistic, multi ethnic country. It is home to 125 ethnic and class groups, and they speak 123 languages. And they also follow at least him and different religion and Nepal is also very much geographically diverse. We have like three ecological drones that ranges from sea level to the highest peak in the world. And the parent is considered a developing country and it’s HDR ranking is 147 out of 189 among all other countries So talking about women in Nepal, um, women in Nepal are considered secondary citizen. This argument I make on the basis of Nepali women are do not still have full rights to confer their citizenship to their offspring independently. It doesn’t mean they cannot do it at all. But prohibition stipulates that you really have to prove that the Father is absent and go through a various bureaucratic hurdles in order to do that And stories of women who have received certain certificates from those mediums show that it is a very humiliating and disturbing experience. So women in Nepal are secondary citizens and women in Nepal have actively contributed to different political and social movement in Nepal, Nepal has had a very turbulent history, from monarchy, and then democracy to now the federal liberal Republic, and we also had a 10 year long armed conflict. So in all these movements and political movements, women played a very vital and significant role. But despite their significant contribution when it came to capitalizing and getting the benefit of these movements when it came to getting the leadership opportunities, women were always sidelined, and experiences of Nepal’s experience with conflict zones that women were the most victimized. And also, they were the active participants, like 40% are comprised of women competence, but despite that, when it came to peace process, and post conflict, political and social panic in Nepali women still are their concerns are not seriously considered So, this these are some very simple fact about Nepali women just to share that we have had an incredible progress over the year, but it still if we look at the education significant discrimination, still actress political participation has been increasing, but again, it has been very much limited to the token representation and token inclusion So COVID-19 and Nepal COVID-19. As we all know, it has posed as an unprecedented challenge

in modern times. It’s not just a health issue, it’s a social issue So I’m a sociologist, and as a sociologist, I believe that social impacts of COVID-19 has emerged as one of the most profound crises in Nepal and it has tested the very strength of our social fabric, our notion of community, our notion of society, is all being challenged. And I very much was inspired by what was said about the social importance of studying COVID-19 from a sociological perspective. She argues that it is during the moment of crisis that we can learn most about the social order and also think about what’s happening right now with the massive inequalities that emerging in this pandemic and the social economic faultlines that are opening wide So what she says is very much true about what’s happening in Nepal right now So looking at the world map and available data on coronavirus, we can see Nepal is emerging gradually as a hot spot for Covid 19. But despite increasing numbers, if we compare with the death counts, the death counts seem to be incredibly low But I argue that for Nepal it’s more than the death happening due to COVID-19, the death impact by COVID-19, I argue that social impact of the pandemic has actually claimed more lives in a country divulged with inefficiencies on all accounts of government, and a weak system and social inequality based on class, gender, and regional identities I argue this because Nepal, in Nepal the way Beirut has responded to the pandemic has claimed more lives. I’ll be talking about how that is actually happening So In Nepal and for most — informal sector employs more than half of the people who are working in informal sector are actually women belonging to marginalized and vulnerable communities and they have been hit hardest, and along with that Nepal is a country that is emerging as a serious economy and recently as the Covid 19 crisis started building up all over the world, Nepal citizens were forced to return home and they were caught in a situation where the host country wants them to leave the country but Nepal government was not ready to have them back So there have been a high number of Nepalese citizens who are continuing to not come back and it has created a big crisis for Nepali economy. And not only that, COVID 19 and the government response has actually claimed more lives … mental health response hasn’t been that good. For instance, Nepali government issued the first lockdown and if we look at the data on the very first seventy four days of the lockdown, 1,227 people committed suicide and if we compared the rate of suicide in the earlier year, that was almost double So COVID19 I argue that in case of Nepal it is more than a public health challenge. It has emerged as a serious economic and social crisis So Talking about Nepali women, the Nepal government instituted a nationwide lockdown with the message “stay home” that is where the safety is But for women in Nepal, Nepal already has a high rate of domestic violence And home has never been a safe place for women Everyone in the world because of the high rate of domestic violence they have opinions. So in the case of Nepal the official data has yet to emerge there has been small studies that may not be representative of all the sample but there is a hot line run by the national women’s commission and according to their data, a total of 885 complains of domestic violence existed in a 24 hour toll free hotline from April to June 2020 So this number was the cause of the complaints received during the same period

of lockdown. That show that the level of domestic violence increased exponentially And it is evident that like women all over the world, women in Nepal are also coping with emotional and physical care burden which I would like to call it a fourth shift. We often talk about the first shift in the morning then in the afternoon doing the work and then the evening, but there is also something called fourth shift where women consider the care of the family, consider the care while they are sick and making sure they are supported In times of COVID19 when the families and people in the communities have fallen sick it is considered the responsibility of women to take care of the sick and elderly So these increased burdens has also challenged women in Nepal. So on the backdrop of these extremely challenging conditions, we see there have been few Nepali women rising above the challenges and they have embraced the roles of the carers of the most vulnerable people affected by COVID 19. Sso I have chosen 3 COVID19 Sheroes by choosing these three women. I’m not saying other women’s contributions are less I’m only saying these women as representative of the courage and bravery all COVID 19 frontline warriors including women in Nepal are going through. SO these COVID 19 Sheroes I argue are breaking the stereotype and they’re challenging established gender norms and questioning the people in power including the government. They are doing exactly what the government is lacking. They are supporting exactly where people are in need Iargue that stories of these COVID 19 Sheroes are even more important to acknowledge, to compliment, and to talk about the challenge the systemic silence about women’s contributions to society. So over these years, there have been social movements in history. We see that the women’s contributions have always been systematically silenced and hidden. So acknowledging this COVID-19 Sheroes is an important way for us to acknowledge their contribution So I’ll be talking about three women, I will be introducing them and I will be talking about what exactly they’re doing. And then I’ll be talking about how their work actually challenges the established gender norms and stereotypes in Nepali society. So first of these female warriors I am talking about is Dr. Runa Jha, she’s a chief pathologist and Director of National Public Health laboratory in Nepal. So earlier, in the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in Nepal, there was only one public health lab that was actually authorized to do the COVID-19 testing because government hasn’t hasn’t had authorized private labs yet to do the COVID-19. It was all in her shoulder to lead the team who was doing the testing from, from the samples all over the Nepal from different parts of the Nepal and this laboratory is a public laboratory which is linked with other 277 government laboratories so and she was in respect to the contribution and exemplary leadership that she’s so during the crisis, she was included in un women’s five women on the front lines of COVID-19 response and she is her contribution has also challenged a various stereotypes about women working in the medical professions, women working in the science women working in medical disciplines. The second COVID-19 warrior that I am talking about is Miss Indira Rana Magar See is a social worker with exemplary and inspiring history of working in this organization called Prisoner Assistance Nepal. And this organization has been looking after the children from criminal parents living in jail because in Nepal, there was just there was a situation where if parents are convicted children have to live together with the parents because Nepal did not have a alternative welfare system where children could leave. And again, see independence. So

seeing that gap she actually founded that organization and over the years, it has become a mother of 20,000 children who have been deserted by their parents due to challenging circumstances. So during the first lockdown, she was one of the very few people who responded to where it really mattered and I don’t so much from what we stopped Dr Chansky said earlier food is not just a food It is a very important issue particularly during the pandemic and the food security issue was left under the trust by the Nepalese government when they introduced the nationwide lockdown and especially people who are poor and vulnerable who did not have permanent jobs and security of earning living They were directly impacted and they were coming out in the streets and having to be forced to scavenging in the garbage so when she saw that we miss Rana Magar saw that she started feeding poor people. And her initiative initially started with feeding 20 people a day. But now she feeds more than 700 people every day, and she feeds it right in Kathmandu in the middle of Kathmandu is the capital of the city repeated in the speech people in the middle of the heart of the city and government response to her initiative was the mayor of the municipality another municipality said it was embarrassing them that it was giving a wrong message to international community that Nepal has many problems so it was very much focused on saving the face and saving the face, not so much focusing on supporting the people. So these are the pictures that I have got from Miss Rana Magar’s Facebook profiles which are public. So she was sharing about her work. So this is how she has been working tirelessly every day bringing hot meals to the poor people who have been impacted by COVID-19 and this is the picture of says cooking So now they and other inspiring women I would like to share about his 18 year old Sapana Roka Mager so she was also recently a week ago was recognized by BBC as one of the 100 influential women of 2020 and Sapana’s work work currently is she works with the homeless management in rehabilitation center. So, it is a Nepali charity which provides assistance to homeless people. In addition to that, what they have been doing also they actually have to perform the last funeral rites to the abandoned and unidentified bodies So, during this Coronavirus period, there has been on unidentified people have died because of COVID-19 as well and that was a huge crisis of who is going to manage these bodies which sometimes family members also hesitated to become involved. So, they provided this service to provide a respectful funeral, right according to the Hindu tradition, and settlers engagement is also very interesting, because in Nepal, traditionally, women do not have rights to do on a roll and attain the fundamental rights of even of their closest family members Because the way in the balance of patriarchal society with a high level of son preference So the reason why sons are so much valued by the parents is because sons are expected to do the fundamental rights of their parents with the hope that they will have a secure afterlife because having a good funeral done by the sun is the way to ensure that you have a good afterlife. So, borders were never considered as the rightful people to conduct the funeral rights of their parents, not just their parents of their any family members. So, Sapana’s engagement in this is breaking a lot of stereotype because the very presence of Sapana in this morgue shows that she is, um, she is challenging these stereotypes and norms

Last I would like to conclude that in Nepal, Nepal has been traditionally considered a Hindu country now it’s a secular country. And by using this analogy, I am not trying to do disrespect to other communities and religion in Nepal. But I couldn’t help but connect the image of the three Trinity that we usually associate with Hinduism In Hinduism, three gods are considered to be the people who hold the civilization together Brahma is the creator who creates the life who create the earth. And Vishnu who is in the middle, he sustains and takes care of the people of the living beings in the in the world. And then Shiva is the God of the destruction, He is the God of the dead. So I argue that these three women among the many others COVID-19 sheroes, have emerged as the new Trinity because now the way the COVID-19 frontline warriors have been working, healthcare professionals have been working to take care of COVID-19 patients shows that they’re giving new life to COVID-19 serve survivors to medical care And second, people like Roka Maker are making the most by caring and feeding the most vulnerable are sustaining the people taking care of the people. And people like Sapana are providing dignified funeral rights to homeless and unidentified. So this is the COVID-19 Sheroes stories of the COVID-19 sheroes I wanted to share with you all, and there are a lot more stories so many stories that have showed that women have shown courage and perseverance and vigilance in these trying times and I would like to acknowledge them all all of the world. And again, thanks for listening and thank you very much Thank you Dr. Aryal Khanal, that was really wonderful and it really hit home as as the you all know that I’m from Nepal, and it’s Just made me so emotional. Well now without delay I would like to welcome Mr. Tosin Akibu from UN Women Nigeria for her presentation “resilience of Nigerian women in COVID-19.” Thank you very much Greetings to my, my co panelists, Dr. Ricia, Dr. Neeti, and Farida, and Dr. Sheila for the opportunity to participate in this very, very heartwarming, very insightful engagement. My name is to Tosin Akibui. And I’ll be speaking about the resilience of Nigerian women, as we have seen at the advent of COVID-19. And my outline will, the presentation will focus a bit on the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria, effect on the women and the gender gap that have been further exacerbated by COVID-19 The overview was for like the joint EU UN Spotlight initiative and then in interventions and then I’d like to talk about a case in point and then conclude that way In Nigeria, as of today, we have 69,000 and some fraction of confirmed cases. The first case was reported on the 27th of February in 2020. After which, a month later, we were sent into a complete total shutdown of the entire country, Nigeria has over 180 million people And what we saw emerging what we what we currently see emerging as COVID-19 effect from the control measures include impact on the economic and livelihood of everyone, but especially women, and especially those left further behind. There has been the loss of income imagine data from UNDP has said another shutdown will throw 15 million women into complete abject poverty The increased social and domestic responsibilities my co panelists have mentioned this, the health and well being access to healthcare was reduced. There was an increase in maternal and infant mortality,

burden on mental health and poor psychosocial support systems. And then human rights. We had increased incidences of domestic violence. A lot of people were literally locked in with the enemy They couldn’t go anywhere. And the the In fact, we had instances where women during the lockdown knew that immediately after the lockdown, they were going to get a divorce. Because what they had been, you know, trying to work on, fell into pieces The gender gaps that we photo store that were widened by COVID-19 was the absence of a central GBV data collection system It was difficult to find data absence of gender policies for emergencies, such as COVID-19 authorities were were at a loss of how to respond or react in a gender sensitive manner To what COVID-19 there was an absence of social safety nets for women, especially those in businesses. We also had lack of gender sensitive emergency health system That was the burden of care on women and girls, poor access to water and sanitation The lockdown generally further broke down strained already strained, intimate relationships. And then we had the humongous issue of a lack of disability friendly helpline Now, I’ll be talking briefly about the joint eu un spotlights initiative and the interventions that we we adopted to address some of the gap What is the spotlight initiative? It is the global multi year partnership between the EU and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence as the largest global funding and it responds to all forms of violence. It is an initiative focused on issues and spotlights in issues of women achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and the interventions, multi sectoral and multi phased approach and they have six reinforcing programming pillars And I’ll be reading that statement by the deputy UN Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed. She said prevention is a central component of our new UN EU spotlights initiative. It’s a large scale Global Initiative to finally end all violence against women and girls. Now, very quickly, these are the pillars. We have laws and policies, we have institutions transmitted federal and government institutions, prevention through the promotion of gender equitable social norms, you will agree with me that if we take, for example, the social ecological model that takes into cognizance, the significant others in the influence in favor of an individual, then we may be able to actually understand where the facilitators have the barriers of certain social norms, and the perceptions and attitudes that portrayed them We have services and showing the high quality services for survivors of violence available, we have a self improving the quality, accuracy and availability of data on violence against women And then we have the women’s movement, promoting strong and empowered civil society and women’s movement. And so my presentation will focus a bit around women’s movements today, on the spotlight initiative at UN Women, we have women led civil society, grassroots organizations at the center of effort And at the advent of COVID-19. We had to quickly work revive both plans to adapt the COVID-19 it was it was tasking a lot of people had to redesign has to think out of the box and how they could reach beyond the serve the underprivileged and perhaps reach women in the communities, especially in the face of a lockdown. And so for Northern policies, what did we do? We realized that, yes, a lot of the states had gender policies. But the gender policies did not speak to how there was going to be a response during an emergency such as COVID So women’s Coalition’s in the six spotlight states worked with the state ministries of women’s affairs to develop gender policy briefs, that speak to gender sensitive responses And then, during that, the advent of COVID, we also were able to through the women’s movement, push for the Senate to pass the sexual harassment bill in tertiary institutions

I do not know if some of you saw the October 7 2019 report, the BBC report of sexual harassment in some Nigerian universities. And it was before now there has been no law, no policy, around sexual harassment in tertiary institutions So through the spotlight, we were able to have a collective signature petition in the Senate to be able to move this forward. And then we have the women’s movement presented at the second reading the second hearing of the panel What that did for us was it gave us the leverage to be able to work in casual institutions virtually to work with sexual and school related gender based violence response teams, set them up and have ambassadors who could support each other students at the tertiary institution And then virtually we were able to engage over 100 government officials across the six states on gender responsive budgeting, because that came out of a huge gap. There was no gender responsive budget, that called support, for example of the provide social safety net for women during COVID-19. And so we set up these engagements and we have allies in and male champions in all of the ministries, the departments and agencies, where right now we’re currently reviewing the 2020 budget, and we’re making sure that it is gender responsive, we’re not doing this alone, but doing it with the allies that we have worked with in the last couple of weeks And then we looking at the prevention and services Billa We met in 10 household clusters formed community surveillance groups, it was a beauty to see where they could come together within a few meters radius of their household Once they receive palliative funding from UN Women through the joint eu un spotlight initiative, and then because we’re providing Second Chance education, which includes functional literacy, livelihood, and other other support mechanism for women We realized that because of social distancing, we couldn’t bring all this women together And so we went online Went to reduce the ratio. So we set up radio listening groups and cheap, tiny little reduce that called, quite boom, the sounds, you can see some of them on the table, different colors, beautiful ratios, where you’d have women in little clusters, listening, learn how to read, learn how to write. And I just cover and share some of the video of women who got married off at 14. And who never could write their names, being able to start reading and writing their names. And so using that functional literacy to support the businesses that they were doing, they didn’t need to put money in their husbands accounts anymore, because they didn’t know how to read. But they’re now able to open bank accounts, right in their name, find and have custody of their money. For me, it is very, very happy woman when women come together to ensure that we have each other’s backs. We have seen this, this intensified referral for gbv services, we in fact, started seeing some women and put that who would otherwise be quiet, who would otherwise not have access to any form of service, access and services because of this women, community surveillance groups. This activity prevented child marriage COVID-19 in Nigeria, especially in northern Nigeria, became a breeding time for the perpetration of harmful traditional practices. families could not get access to livelihood, they didn’t have money. And so the next option was to give of their daughter in marriage for exchange of some money, or some food item. And so this community, problem groups put a stop prevented dozens of child attempted child marriage. And then during the COVID-19 in February, I’m just using one example And it’s just an illustrative example, where in February, we had, let’s say, 11 cases of gender based violence consistent predominantly of women by match during the lockdown, the cases quadrupled. We had about 364% of people reporting domestic violence. And so we had to quickly quickly open a one stop center

in Sokoto, that’s Northwest Nigeria And it’s the first of its kind fair It’s sad to say that the first child that was brought was just three years old, and she was badly badly badly defined Between much. And today, we’ve had several hundreds of cases. And on the next slide, I will be showing you that we have a 15% increase in the number of men and boys reporting incidences of violence perpetrated against them. Predominantly cases of photo me in the picture is a young woman who is reading her book she never could read before. And maybe what I’m going to do is add some of the videos to this presentation before I share with Dr. sweets So you can hear it’s so beautiful to hear them saying I can’t believe I’m reading this. I can’t believe I’m reading this. I’m so grateful I can read. Thank you for helping me read, of course So I mentioned that we had the problem of data collection. Through the joint un spotlight eu un spotlight initiative, we were able to establish the GDP data situation room, and that is the Deputy Secretary General She launched this a few weeks ago as well as the honorable minister Federal Ministry of women affairs, where we have it’s a collision center of all data, data concerning gender based violence The women’s movement was able to petition the presidential task force because we had issues at the beginning of the shutdown. People were locked in with with the with their abuser, they would attempt to go out and the police will tell them is not an essential request, and they would send them back. And so over 300 signatures we’ve gotten from women’s coalition and the petition the presidential task force to recognize gender based violence response as an essential service. And I’m so glad to see if this was recognized immediately and it made a declaration and that allowed the service providers access as well as access to homes where they could ever quit women and children The collective action of this women led to the to the declaration by Nigeria Governor’s forum on the state of emergency on Wait, it’s the first time ever it never happened before in Nigeria and now state governments are working to ensure that This state is positioned to apply respond to gender based violence. We also jointly developed briefer suggestions for COVID and disability sensitive response towards COVID-19 Women led household opened up their homes as temporary shelters, whether were new government supported shelters, feminist movements, set of virtual prep platforms for system such as whatsapp group, toll free line, social media groups and all of that. And then we men were trained to make hand sanitizers. face masks one of I have two pictures one picture that shows the sample of the facemask women set up hand washing, they publish support groups, women lawyers provide provided pro bono services, women in the private sector supports at small and medium scale enterprises and provided grants to women This is my last slide. And I’d like to talk to you about the money white practice in Oban, nickel, local governments have cross River State, Nigeria, in south south Nigeria, the practice is one where before God child is born, maybe at the age of two, maybe three months, wants to go go child, families give her out in marriage with the exchange of tubers of young goats, sheep, or a material such as the one I’m wearing, or, or paltry some watches maybe $20. To for the family, it could also be in exchange for a debt settlement that a family member of a gold had insured. And so you’d see in this community, that you have 15 year old girls with three children who are widowed, never gone to school, no education, you can see the Healthy Living young girls pregnant, caring children, babies having babies. And they will fall back that during the COVID-19 situation, more of this was going to happen. But what the women’s movement and cross river did a coalition of several women banded up with a group of allies meant in cross river in the community, and engage the traditional system and get the religious system engaged with the community

helpful to household. And it is with so much pride. With so much relief that I’m sharing with you. There’s a link here where the practice has been abolished. And you can you imagine the release of the next girl that was supposed to be given of the money wife, and the effect of this abolishment on the future and the life of that girl child. I’d like to conclude by by reminding us that collective action towards eliminating violence against women works every time, especially in emergencies, such as COVID-19, and that we should invest in women led businesses The picture on the right is one that we took last week. And for the first time ever again, because of this women’s Coalition for Nigerian governors white against gender based violence came together from 25 out of the 36 states to make a declaration and serve the Governance Forum with a community demanding for improved restaurants for gender based volume These are interesting times with seen shifts that we have never seen before We need to move beyond income generating activities to access to markets for young women so that we build a generation of young women who can run businesses who can be CEOs who can be intrapreneurs, and will open the door for other women to pass through mentoring programs have worked during this period intergenerational dialogue has has been very useful, where women that attended the Beijing nine to five conference at tutoring and mentoring younger women to be able to assess the progress that was made several years after leaving no one behind is very crucial. And I’m going to leave you with a with an actionable step This morning this afternoon this evening Wherever you are there. There are listeners that in the fight against gender based violence. What can you do beyond what the government can do beyond what institutions can do? Would you leave your home open a shelter for a woman? Would you raise your voice against the battery of a neighbor, would you speak for the child on the street. Thank you so much for this opportunity and how Have a wonderful day over to you Thank you so much. This has been an amazing panel and I cannot stop my tears Thank you so much to Tosin for sharing these stories and heartwarming presentation Now I’d like to invite Dr. Sheila Carter-Tod my colleague from the Department of English for presenting her response to the panel, welcome Dr. Carter-Todd Okay, it is, was, I was quite overwhelmed by all that I heard. And so I think, as Dr. Chansky said, bear with me, as I tried to speak through this, I will, I tried to take notes and capture a lot of what you’ve said, the joy of having your presentations given to me was that I could actually use some of your words. So I’m going to let you know ahead of time that I will be utilizing a lot of your words, it’s really important that we have these conversations, particularly to our understanding of the influence of women And Virginia Tech talks a lot about beyond beyond boundaries. But this is this is very, very largely beyond boundaries, particularly in the time of pandemic I’m just going to briefly recap a few points that you all have made And then I’m going to close with a actually, before we started, we had some time together And there were some things that were discussed And so I’m going to close with those comments Dr. Chansky helped us to understand a little bit about how feeding as many people as we can, while thinking through self reliant practices for food production was important. I really appreciate the way that she she sort of had us reflected on sort of the history of Puerto Rico, but then led us to think about who eats What do they eat? When do they eat? How much do they eat? And how much does it cost? And how easy is it to access. Um, she talked to us about some wonderfully wonderful women led community based groups working to feed those who are experiencing food insecurity during times of disaster, but also now during the times of pandemic. And then I also like the way that she sort of moved just to think about reading the act of widespread feeding, feeding as a feminist rhetoric, the actions of this year within the context of colonial colonialization and disaster, she said, work to re humanize those who have been dehumanized through a purposeful positioning and second class citizens. And and

that was, I think that was quite effective. The way that she said that, um, Dr. Nolan and Miss Keith, both presented valuable information on Nepali and Nigerian women’s increased burdens, and overwhelming resilience during this time of pandemic. And Dr. canals taught, caring the most vulnerable stories of, of Nepalese women during COVID women warriors She talked to us about how in a backdrop of these extremely challenging condition, these Napoli’s women, naturally, women were rising above their space buzzing above what they had been their position in life. And she said that these COVID heroes that she mentioned, are breaking the stereotypes and challenging the established gender norms, and are also questioning people in power, including the government and I, the contextualization of that helped us to understand how hard something like that is in this particular situation. And then she ended with and she said, there were so many people she could tell us about. But then this the concept of redefining the Trinity I so appreciated that she argues that these three women, among many others, during the COVID, cheers have emerged as a new Trinity. And she said that they’re giving new life to COVID surviving survivors through medical care, caring and feeding the most vulnerable, providing dignified funerals of the criminal rights to homeless and and unidentified. And I, I was quite overwhelmed by the discussion of how that what kind of what role that has in the social standing. And then what was really challenging is having to actually speak after after Ms. Akibu’s talk because I was frantically trying to bring it all together while holding it together. So in your discussion about the resilience of Nigerian women and coping and managing and resisting this whole idea of the collective action towards gender based violence, in terms of thinking about how women came together to change, not only change the situation, but also change the rules and the laws that kept that kept these women in these honorable positions was exceptionally effective in the way that women, the women led households were opening up their homes as temporary shelters and even at the end challenging us to think about that same concept, the way that feminist movements set up virtual platforms for assistance The whole idea of the second chance, and I appreciated that he looked at the economic sense of it, as well as the educational sense talking about Second Chance education And bringing literacy and skills acquisition to women and girls who would not have had access to that in the also the looking at from the legal realm providing pro bono legal services, and how the women led private sector was actually bolstering and being supported in a time of challenge and a particularly difficult time At the beginning of our conversation, we were sitting in the room trying to check our our sound and our video and Dr. Chomsky had said that what this talk does is this begins an important conversation that is timely, because we are in the midst of witnessing it as we are reflecting on it. This is a global communal trauma, we may have a different perspective later, but we may forget. And so these conversations as, as we’re having them now are important to capture as a way of thinking about the narratives of these women’s experiences in the moment at the time. I want to thank you so much, Dr. Swift, the venue for letting me be a part of this, for coordinating this conversation and breaking the hiss as you said, the historical male focus narratives by bringing together these scholars to acknowledge international sheroes Thank you so much Thank you so much, everyone, for joining me today I think we have time for some questions. If you want to use q&a feature to share your questions Again, read it out to our panelists thing, we have one here for Dr. Chansky. It is nice to hear from your presentation, I learned a great deal here I’m curious to know about the methodology of oral histories that you have used with your students And wondering how did you start this project and the methods that you used and effective, how effective you find this method of transcribing history? Thank you for that question. Sheila mentioned getting a little emotional So please, excuse me, this is a little bit more personal part of the conversation When we returned to campus, just over one month after Hurricane Maria destroyed the majority of Puerto Rico My University distributed a questionnaire regarding students material needs so that we could attempt to feed and house as many students as possible

Being that I’m interested in autobiography studies I invited students to write ungraded, not assigned hurricane memoirs. And I did that because I believe that in the midst of disaster, we don’t have the opportunity to share our experiences and that transaction between this is what happened to me and sharing that story with a witness is part of a healing process. And I’m not saying people are healed as in final or absolute, but part of a process of healing. Um, I didn’t expect that very many students would do that Every single student wound up doing it and I carried home, a collection of narratives written with pen or pencil on whatever paper was available because there was still no electricity and no internet at that time. I read those narratives by candlelight, after I had made food for my community on a one burner campstove. And as I read them, they became more and more powerful to me until finally, I read a narrative by a young person named Alejandra. And Alejandra told me that after the hurricane, she had watched her neighbors bury two family members in their backyard, because the hospital was closed, and they were so without electricity. And the two people needed treatment that was tied to electricity and something they could not go to the hospital and they could not use the equipment that they needed to use Those family members had died and were buried in the yard Obviously, I found that to be an extremely moving experience, and I realized that the disempowerment was extremely dangerous, that I had a campus of students who felt powerless both against an unnatural disaster and I use my little air quotes there because of fossil fuel greed, changing the climate and instigating super storms But then helpless in the face of government level failures that lead to electricity being still off months and even years in some places after a natural disaster, lack of medical care and lack of dignity. I think bot of my — presenters used the term dignity. I think that’s the foundation we’re talking about here That’s why I started the project because storytelling restates the narrator as a protagonist, as gentle, as the storyteller Additionally it helps someone facilitate. the telling of their story which is a great and powerful gift. Then the dissemination and the sharing. of that story rewrites that national story or narrative or media narrative that erases people from their own stories. I have found this to be an extremely extremely effective model to use Again I’m not a counselor i’m not a therapist, I’m a literature professor and I feel as though teachers are often the people who show up and are there after disaster or tragedy. we have been there every day for our students throughout COVID And so adjusting, and shaping, and changing what we need to teach, what. we are mandated our learning objectives and adapting that to our situations as we are able to, understanding that we are also partners in communal trauma, is an effective way in recognizing and witnessing our student experiences and empower them to shape their communities Thank you so much. We have another question from a professor from Virginia Tech. “Dr Chansky asked us to think about how we can get away from binary system position and consider instead how power is masculinized, and lack of power is feminized. I wonder if Dr. Akibu and Dr. Khanal could speak about how activists they have observed and work with, would react to stepping away from the binary conception of these problems? Whoever can go first Well, should I answer? Yeah, go ahead Yeah. Okay. Um, that’s a very interesting question. And

yes, I agree that when we talk about power, because we see usually men holding the powerful position. So power has been equated with power has been symbolized as something masculine rather than the feminized. As a feminist researcher, I think we can challenge those conceptions of power by bringing in the values that women represent values of love, care, and empathy, and vulnerability as in redefining what power means. I haven’t. And the presentation today is based on the stories of the women that I shared with I think, they are redefining that notion of power by themselves by feeding the poor, the after feeding, which is considered a very feminine, but at the same time, it also represents the value of you know, what women stands for, as the care of the community. So I think challenging that notion of power by our activists and men bringing in our feminist values of love caring, empathy is the way that we can challenge that. Thank you so much for the question. Very interesting. To see Do you want to go there? We cannot hear you think you have to unmute yourself Maybe we can go to another question at the moment Since I think there is some technical difficulties. Ana Shresta has asked, grateful to hear their unheard narratives of our COVID sheroes. I wonder if you all think yourself as COVID sheroes what were your struggle and challenges and how did you find resurrection? backwards for me as well? I think um, yeah, I think we all are COVID sheroes all of this and COVID sheroes not just me, I think all of the participants who are present here we all are survivors, we all are coping and resisting in our own way and my own personal mechanism is to collaborate and like this and you know talking to families returning like we have here and we do have a reading group which set me are part of the meet we every Sunday. This has been disrupted a bit last few weeks but we meet every week and then we do discussion and then the informal conversation just sharing our you know, coping and challenges. So these are the way that I have been trying to cope with the situation so my answer we all are COVID sheroes All of us including you yourself Microphone is back I don’t think we can hear Okay, maybe you can share in chat Go ahead She’s typing I will. I will read it out. And again, thank you so much, everyone. We have around, over 100 participants from all around the world. From Italy, Germany, Nepal, India, many parts of the US and a lot of people around the world I’m so humbled by your participation Another commenter says that we should take a critical look at hegemonic masculinity and how power dynamics affect the work we do. I think that’s a great answer. And I think we are running out of time and we have. But I would like to thank you, all of us for joining, joining me and all in this panel as well as in this webinar. And again, thank you David Schuh and Xuqing Wang

who were my technical support. Thank you, Dr Sheila Carter-Tod, Dr. Neeti Aryal Khanal, Tosin Akibu, and Dr. Chansky. Thank you all Without you all this event wouldn’t have been possible and I wouldn’t have been able to envision plan and execute this without Dr. Farida Jalalzai, Dr. Laura Belmonte and Dr. Rebecca Weaver Hightower, thank you so much, everyone. Have a good day evening and good night. Bye!