New data has shown that a disproportionate number of women have been infected with the Ebola virus.
Although, both men and women are being hit by the disease, but the difference in who is getting the brunt of this outbreak is staggering.
According to UNICEF, women account for 55 to 60 per cent of the 1,552 deaths from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since May.
However, reports say that health teams on the ground in Liberia report much higher numbers with women making up 75 per cent of the people who have been infected.
Some are pointing to women’s penchant for nurturing as the main factor behind the disparity. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s blood, tissues and bodily fluids. It is not airborne. This, when coupled with the fact that women make up the majority of caregivers, is huge reason why the disease has hit females the hardest.
Executive Director of the Women’ NGO Secretariat Liberia Marpue Spear said this mentality about gender roles is also what’s keeping more men from situations where they could risk infection.
“If a man is sick, the woman can easily bathe him, but the man cannot do so,” Marpue told Foreign Policy.
“Traditionally, women will take care of the men as compared to them taking care of the women.”