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COVID & Gender: Risks, Paradoxes, Possibilities

In fall 2020, Sophia University's Miura Mari and Doshisha's Okano Yayo invited me to contribute a piece to a special issue of the Japanese Political Science Association's journal focusing on COVID-19 and gender. Miura and Okano are scholars of gender and Japanese politics and political thought whom I admire very much, so I was honored and anxious. As I participated in this project with them, I learned a lot, and also thought a lot about what a diverse set of phenomena also make up what we call "COVID-19."

In my contribution, I drew on feminist analyses of disaster recovery, essential work, and

the importance of coalition building to think about how COVID-19 as a complex disaster exposed

our shared vulnerability, and also heightened awareness about particularly vulnerable

populations. I tried to find hopeful indications that such awareness may make it possible for us to confront long-standing paradoxes in our society in a way that emphasizes neither absolute security nor individual responsibility, but that rather prompts collective action across diverse interests and groups with an aim, not to promise absolute security, but to focus on collective resilience and survival.

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