The Jakarta Post
It has been more than six months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Since then, more people have been practicing the “3M” protocols: menggunakan masker (mask-wearing), mencuci tangan (handwashing) and menjaga jarak (social distancing).
The protocols are considered to be effective at preventing person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, but not everyone has managed to maintain diligent compliance with them.
A survey conducted by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) from Sept. 7 to 14 highlights a gender divide in the observance of COVID-19 health protocols.
Involving 90,967 respondents from across the archipelago, the survey shows that women are more likely to comply with the health protocols than men.
In the survey, 94.8 percent of women respondents said they wore a mask, compared to 88.5 percent of men respondents.
Furthermore, 80.1 percent of women respondents had been washing their hands with soap for around 20 seconds, while only 69.5 percent of men respondents did the same.
Among the 3M protocols, the respondents found that social distancing was the hardest to practice, with only 77.5 percent of women respondents and 68.7 percent of men respondents saying they were applying the 1-meter physical distancing protocol.
Among the reasons for not practicing the 3M protocols, 55 percent of respondents cited the lack of sanctions.
Discussing the gender divide in 3M practices, the national COVID-19 task force’s behavior change division head, Sonny Harry B. Harmadi, said similar surveys had been conducted in April and July and had presented similar results, with women being more aware of the COVID-19 health protocols.
When asked about the reasons, Sonny said women were closer to their family and more aware of the danger caused by COVID-19.
He mentioned that it was among the reasons why the task force used “Ingat Pesan Ibu” (remember mother’s message) as a tagline for its COVID-19 prevention campaign.
“[Women] know that they could spread the virus to their family members, leading them to follow the health protocols,” said Sonny during a virtual meeting on Friday.
He also added that COVID-19 was often transmitted from the people near us, not from people outside our inner circles.
Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Bintang Puspayoga also has urged families to avoid hosting or attending family gatherings, following the emergence of COVID-19 infection clusters in families.
Indonesia has seen a continuously rising number of cases since March. As of Saturday, the country recorded 299,506 confirmed cases with 225,052 recoveries and 11,055 deaths. (jes)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force (Satgas COVID-19) to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.