Psychological and emotional support, as well as expert advice, are most needed by women during the pandemic

This article is part of UN Women in BiH campaign “Thank you, heroines”, aimed at raising awareness on numerous contributions of women during COVID-19 response.

Women employed in grocery stores provide significant daily support to citizens when it comes to responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Mirzeta Drakovac is a saleswoman and cashier at the Bazar Market in Sarajevo. During the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, she greeted customers every day with the words "Good day" and "How can I help you?". Without Mirzeta and her colleagues, it would be difficult to imagine everyday life marked by new circumstances.

Still, the COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to Mirzeta’s life. Although she was on the frontline of response to the pandemic, she dealt with the crisis bravely and professionally.

"The nature of my job is such that I am in constant contact with people, but I believe that with a responsible and disciplined approach, we can successfully overcome this challenge as well. Together with my colleagues, I continuously use a mask and hand sanitizers, and we try to keep our physical distance as much as possible. Privately, when I come home, I take all possible hygienic measures, because I have three children, one of whom is a heart patient, so I really try to protect them as much as possible," says Mirzeta.

During the crisis, during which no one knew anything about the virus, not everyone could work from home. For those who went to work every day, nothing has changed except facing new uncertainties.

"I worked all the time during the crisis, and I still work, so I try to be available to our customers even in difficult times. At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was panic among the population, and there was huge demand for food products. My colleagues and I did our best to ensure the availability of products on the shelves, respecting even the strictest hygiene measures," adds Mirzeta.

The new situation was also reflected in the approach to work, which required increased hygiene measures at shops.

"In the situation in which we found ourselves, we put safety and health first, both for ourselves and our consumers. In addition to regular hygiene procedures, we introduced enhanced hygiene and sanitary measures, as well as additional disinfection of cash registers, equipment and POS devices."

Since one of Mirzeta's children is a heart patient, the biggest challenge she faced was how to preserve her children's health.

"In my private life, I keep contact with the mothers of children with heart defects, because those children are most susceptible to viruses. We help each other with advice and financial support from our Association of Parents and Children with Congenital Heart Anomalies. Psychological and emotional support, as well as expert advice, are most needed by all women at this time, so that they can function in the best way possible.”

Mirzeta concludes that life continues in difficult circumstances to which we all need to adapt.

"The most important thing is to preserve our health, both physically and mentally. We must all be responsible in the spheres in which we operate. We need to protect ourselves and others. And like everything else, the coronavirus will pass.”

This article is part of the UN Women in BiH campaign “Thank you, heroines”, that is aimed at raising awareness about the numerous contributions of women who are on the frontlines of response to the COVID-19 crisis. Follow UN Women in BiH social media, read stories about some of these amazing women, and thank the women you think are heroines by using the hashtag #ThankYouHeroines. Together let’s support the women who are contributing to a strong COVID-19 response! #HeroinesTellTheirStories

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UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women