The Covid-19 Pandemic, a Crisis with a Woman’s Face

By: Francheska M. León de la Parra, Marketing Director of Thema America

A strange and different March is ending, which finishes a year of being mired in a global pandemic. At the same time, we will say goodbye to Women’s History Month in the U.S., in the midst of a scenario quite complicated for women. As recently as last week, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres warned about the uneven impact of the coronavirus and warned of another “epidemic,” of gender-based violence. He noted that “The Covid-19 pandemic is a crisis with a woman’s face,” a pandemic that according to Guterres, brings gender inequality, which disproportionately affects women, back into the light. In this context, he highlighted the devastating effects that this health crisis has had for many women around the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of the most vulnerable sectors: African Americans, Hispanics, and women. In this regard, he pointed out that “Women make up 70 percent of the health sector worldwide and occupy most of the jobs in some of the economic sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.” Guterres also noted that “Compared to men, women are 24 percent more likely to lose their job, and can expect their income to drop a further 50 percent.”

While it is true that the pandemic has hit the weakest sectors, it has also brought to surface the great capacity for resilience of the so-called “weaker sex.” With courage, hundreds of women around the world took the lead, raised their voices, and marched in the streets on March 8 to demonstrate for their rights, while others continue to be inspired every day by stories of brave women and mothers, either through what they read on social media or what they see on television series. In this regard, Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, a Ph.D in Mass Communication / Media Studies and professor at the University of Georgia, who has studied the phenomenon of Turkish dramas and their psychological impact, mainly on women, said that “The female audience is tired of the traditional narco plot or the classic Cinderella story, modern women, who are mothers, professionals, and housewives, prefer to watch and read less conventional stories, and to view series that engage them.” This has led to the global phenomenon of Turkish dramas, which typically have a dramatic crescendo that makes women of all social classes identify with the plot, which usually touches on social issues, raising consciousness about very specific ones. Among the topics covered in the Turkish series are sexual abuse, domestic violence, infertility, the challenges of being a single mother, and school bullying, along with other topics that continue to captivate the female audience.

When Thema America invited me to be part of the team to head up the launch of Kanal D Drama in the U.S. Hispanic market, a channel dedicated one hundred percent to presenting Turkish series in Spanish, I dedicated myself to the task of carefully choosing the series that we would present to the diverse and multicultural Hispanic audience in the U.S. As a Latina, with 14 years of experience in the media, I know very well the impact of television and the power it has this to reflect and shape popular culture. Today, when content of all kinds bombards our screens, it is important that more women see their lives reflected in storytelling that includes social content in the background. Only if they dare to talk about their unfortunate experiences, they may be able to overcome them and change their current situation.

It has definitely been a different March for Kanal D Drama. We are pleased that Verizon Fios, one of the largest cable TV providers, has incorporated our channel into its television offer, which shows that the Turkish drama boom is in full swing and resonates as never before with the Spanish-speaking female audience. As part of the Kanal D Drama team, I am excited to be able to offer these kinds of inspiring stories about women of courage. I hope that more women will be inspired and encouraged to tell us their stories after watching one of the Kanal D Drama series that we will be premiering in April. As we move into a post-pandemic era, we as women remain determined to do whatever it takes to continue to show courage, strength, and needed resilience, demonstrating that women are flagbearers worthy of choosing their own future.

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