A Reuters report says that women are more likely than men to take coronavirus health warnings more seriously and engage in proactive steps like handwashing and social isolation to try to quell the spread of the virus. In fact, although men are almost as likely to admit to knowledge about Covid-19, they’re more likely to scoff at warnings that it could harm them.
While 54 percent of women say they’re “very concerned” about the virus, just 45 percent of men were—and 73 percent of women say they’re hitting the disinfectant and washing their hands more often, with just 60 percent of men doing so.
Large public gatherings? You’ll likely find few women there, with 72 percent saying they’re avoiding them, although just 60 percent of men said the same. And don’t expect a dance at that gathering, with 65 percent of women saying they’re avoiding close personal contact with others; only 56 percent of men are doing the same.
The higher levels of caution on the part of women could stem from their customary roles as caregivers. According to Mieke Beth Thomeer, a sociology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, they’re more likely to be the ones engaged in “kinkeeping”—checking on older family members who are already at higher risk.
Thomeer is quoted saying, “They are more likely to call their grandmother at the nursing home or have to figure out what store to go to to find toilet paper, or figure out future meals based only on what’s currently in the pantry,” adding, “Then added to this, is that women do more childcare to begin with, and so the closing of schools is more impactful—and more likely alarming—for women.”
A quarter of men say they strongly agree that people are “unnecessarily panicking,” and men are also more likely to blame the media for causing panic on something that “isn’t really a big deal for most people.” Men are also less likely to understand how the virus spreads, with 32 percent of men saying it’s “mostly a problem for people who travel a lot” (just 23 percent of women say so) and 28 percent saying it’s “mostly a problem for people who live in urban areas” (only 17 percent of women say so).