Tunis/Tunisia — Findings of a survey revealed that three out of ten polled people felt unsafe at home during the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Tunisia. Men felt more threatened (32% against 26% of women), UN Women Programme Coordinator Ahlem Bousserwel said.
Introducing the results of an online survey carried out by UN Women Regional Office for Arab States on the impact of the COVID-19 on the attitudes and practices of men and women in connection to gender equality and violence against women, Bousserwel added that 35% of respondents living in small towns and 32% in rural areas said they do not feel safe at home compared to 21% in cities.
Male and female pollees who said they feel threatened spoke of their fear of being attacked by strangers (39% and 48%, respectively). They also said they were scared of escalated armed conflict and civil unrest (25%) and violence by a family member (17%).
Bousserwel said the survey was conducted in April and May and launched in 9 countries in the Middle East. A minimum target of 1,000 participants in each country (500 men and 500 women) was set.
In Tunisia, 1,058 people responded to the online survey, including 502 women. Bousserwel said gender, age and education levels were taken into consideration.
51% of those polled expressed concern about issues in relation to the lockdown decreed over the COVID-19, the same source added, including restricted movement (19%), job loss or less income (16%) and shortage of food or other basic needs (11%).
The pandemic caused 11% of Tunisians surveyed to be laid off. 9% had to take unpaid leave, while 15% came to the workplace. In addition, 9% worked from home and 13% are on paid leave.
The percentage of respondents who lost their jobs or were forced to take unpaid leave was the highest in the 25-34 age bracket (26%).
The results of the online survey showed that 29% of pollees saw their income shrink. 54% said family members reported a decline in their income (38%) or a total loss of income (15%).
The survey also revealed that women are responsible for most of the care provided to children and domestic work, while men attend more often to the needs of seniors and help children study.
More than 50% of female respondents said they dedicated more time to housework against 31% of men.
As regards violence in the lockdown period, 52% of those polled said they were witnesses of domestic violence or are aware that a woman they know suffered violence since the outbreak of the COVID-19, with slight variations by gender.
More than half of those surveyed agreed that women faced during the lockdown an added risk of domestic violence from their husbands with a slight variation by gender.