Reflection on the need to prioritize and value the care sector

Care and services to people have been the central theme of this new session of the cycle ‘Female leadership in strategic sectors in Barcelona during the pandemic’. The event has gathered the witness of some women involved in the care sector.

“With whom do we lead? With what attitude do we face this leadership and this situation?”, Gemma Tarafa, Councilor for Health, Aging and Care of the Barcelona City Council, has posed these questions to talk about how to tackle a challenge such as the one we have lived. “Listening and collective intelligence have been key to leadership during the pandemic”, said the speaker. The pandemic has shown us that the care sector is essential, in the opinion of Tarafa, who has stressed that we must collaborate and work so that the sector can support the most vulnerable people.

Next, Mercè Armelles, member of the 50a50 Association, gave way to the round table, made up of Núria Bosch, pharmacist and vice president of the Official College of Pharmacists of Barcelona; Mar Mestre, director of the Customer Area of Suara Cooperativa; and Vanessa Ortega, founder and CEO of the Asociación Perspectivamente.

Armelles highlighted how the pandemic has made the sector visible and has given it the importance it deserves. “We have had the opportunity to make ourselves visible because it seemed that we did not exist. Jobs such as home accompaniment and care for people have been valued, and society has joined to help those who needed to do the shopping or go to the pharmacy”, added Mar Mestre.

Núria Bosch related her experience and explained how they had to create a collaborative system to help the most vulnerable people: “With Covid-19, health has become the priority task in our lives. We had to place ourselves in the first line of action and provide accompaniment, support, help and solve everything that was within our reach”.

Ortega emphasized that many more resources are needed to alleviate the consequences of the pandemic. “The public mental health sector must be strengthened to be able to care for all those affected and who, as a result of the pandemic, will have significant emotional consequences. It is essential to have the necessary tools to take care of mental health”, said the speaker.

Finally, all the work of women in this highly feminized sector has been valued. Mestre has warned about the danger of steps being taken back: “After each crisis, the women’s sector suffers. I have a concern, knowing that care, both at home and professionally, has been an overload for women, there is a risk that this feminization caused by the pandemic will intensify”. In addition, Bosch encouraged us to continue making visible the importance of care and women.

The penultimate session of the cycle will deal with health and nutrition, which will be followed by the cultural and creative industries sector.