News Releases

The Social and Gendered Realities of the COVID-19 Pandemic

For Release Upon Receipt - April 14, 2020

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. Tuesday 14 April, 2020 - The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus calls upon the national community to recognize that the economic and epidemiological fallout from the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will be severely exacerbated by those social, cultural, and gendered inequalities that have become increasingly acceptable to us over time.

The Institute for Gender and Development Studies, The University of the West Indies St Augustine, calls on the nation and region, to be mindful of gendered insecurities that are heightened when victims of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) cannot access the safety of the hours spent at school. We must consider the implications for victims of all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) within the home, who will no longer be able to seek solace in the release offered by the opportunity of work away from the domicile. Similarly, we must be aware of the increased psychosocial tensions produced by the economics of underemployment and unemployment, which are disproportionately carried by women, who make up the backbone of our regional service industry and informal sector.

Our current reality is a complex one, and it is necessary for us to respond more relevantly, holistically, and strategically to the challenge before us. We are not exclusively economic beings, and policy responses must consider emerging non-economic insecurities. Vulnerable citizens will not all have equitable access to those remedies made available by the various agencies. Existing structural, social and gendered inequalities will deny access to some of our very vulnerable citizens. Therefore, social sector service providers need to take into account the factors that will influence the inequalities of access to the services they are providing. Whether these factors include increased home care responsibilities, age, sex, physical ability, level of technological connectivity etc., they are critical to the envisioned efficacy of our social sector response.

Most importantly, individually, as we are called upon to isolate ourselves, become teachers and technological experts and the like, we must also reflect on ways in which we can revive what regional feminist activist, Peggy Antrobus refers to as our ‘Caribbean gift economies’. Now more than ever, we need to find innovative ways to share all those goods we give to each other as expressions of solidarity, love and caring.

As we isolate responsibly, communities need to engage the gift economy by being more attentive of the vulnerable and insecure among us. Also, we must be mindful of the added diverse, gendered stressors with which we are contending, and seek to establish systems of self-care and community survival in the face of COVID 19. Ultimately, as we self-care, there are a number of Civil Society Organizations and NGOs currently engaged in ensuring our gift economy is alive and well. Feel free to access their resources listed below.

We at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) consistent with our mission to advance social justice, promote gender-responsive human relations, and development in the wider society remains committed to the ideals of development responses that are aware of the social, cultural and gendered dimensions of how our population will survive COVID-19.

Partners include:

ChildLine 24 Hour Hotline (Live Chat on website 8am-4pm Mon-Fri)                800-4321 

Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago 24 Hour Hotline                          996/8002014

Families in Action 24 Hour Hotline (English and Spanish)                               628-2333/365-4858

Family Planning Association: Youth                                                           


PORT OF SPAIN                                                                                        






National Domestic Violence Hotline 24 Hour Hotline                                        800-SAVE



Queens Park Counselling Centre (QPCC) and Clinic                                         627-1163 Ext 2085

Rape Crisis Society (Alternate:                                627-7273

T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV)                                            624-0402

T&T Police Service - Victim and Witness Support Unit                                      624-8853     

T&T Police Service - Child Protection Unit Secretariat, Belmont                         612-2588/621-3160

TTPC CPU Divisions are based at police stations                                          

See List via:




About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)