Vaccine hesitancy and gender-based violence
What does vaccine hesitancy has to do with gender-based violence?
A relevant aspect to be considered in vaccine hesitancy is the role of neoconservative religious leaders.
More than isolated cases, since the beginning of the pandemic there are reports across the world of religious leaders denying the veracity of the virus, rejecting social distancing measures and, more recently, promoting conspiracy theories which involved vaccines.
More specifically in regards to gender, their discourses also attributed the emergence of the virus to hard-won feminist victories in regards to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.
In Nigeria, for example, country with one of the largest populations of Christians and Muslims in the world, of which a great number are women, they become more vulnerable to these falsehoods under the influence of religious leaders, that contribute to the vaccine hesitancy in the region and that violates the autonomy of women.
In a wider and political economy perspective, the fake news pronounced by these leaders also revolved around the supposed role of the World Health Organization in promoting communism in a clear stance against the WHO's position as champion of equity and universal access to health and also pledged for the organization's defunding.
A clear indicator is how there are far more numerous reports of demonstrations against vaccines, social distancing and masks than protests for vaccine equity.
Vaccine hesitancy is just one symptom of a larger state of abnormality promoted by the pandemic, that established favorable conditions to authoritarianism, backlash, corporate capture and reinforced the traditional gender social order.
On the 16 days of activism for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the #Fem4PeoplesVaccine campaign partnered with the International Network to End Violence Against Women and Girls (#INEVAWG) to ask some important questions.