In a strong initiative to combat COVID-19, some of the Latin American nations have taken a step to promote social distancing, and that is to separate men and women.

However, the Colombian capital Bogotá, Panama, and Peru, in particular, have seen mixed results after they segregated men and women in this time of the pandemic.

The said three places in Latin America all experimented with the probability of allowing men and women "to go out on different days to buy essentials" such as medicine and food.

The main objective is to limit the number of people going out on the streets at any time while the COVID-19 continues to sweep, not just Latin America but the whole world, as well.

Panama as the First Country to Introduce Gender Distancing

Panama, having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Latin America, was the first country to introduce the gender distancing measure.

As a rule, women are only allowed to go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Men, on the other hand, can go out every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sundays then would mean 'stay-at-home' day for everyone, and no one is allowed to go out.

According to the government, this measure is sufficient. "Undoubtedly, separating men from women" has lessened the number of people who move across Panama by 50 percent. This was according to Vice President José Gabriel Carrizo.

Peru Followed Suit but Results Were Different

Peru imposed the same measure just a few days after. However, the results were different, so much so, that it got abandoned one week after the policy's implementation.

Mostly, Peruvians found that women would go out to buy essentials on their assigned days, leading to long lines in the grocery stores and lack of social distancing.

Meanwhile, the streets were quite more empty on days when men were allowed to go out.

An architect of the project, Farid Matuk said, he was the Latin American masculinity's victim. He explained that in the so-called "patriarchal world in which we live," several roles are designated to women, and regrettably, this is not a perfect time "to challenge them."

He also said it would have been better to give women four days to go out, and two days for men.

Gender Distancing is Effective in Bogotá

Among the three Latin American nations mentioned, Bogotá was the last to implement the gender distancing measure.

Specifically, it started separating genders this week and, according to Mayor Claudia López, so far, the policy works, "even if she punished the men for being more lax than women."

Nevertheless, this scheme under López's leadership has its critics. Some women are complaining that if they need to go out on the days designated for men, like, for instance, they work in the health care industry and are excused from the restriction, they turn out to be outnumbered and find themselves uncomfortable, too.

The LGBT groups also criticized this policy, saying that the mayor gave the police carte blanche to abuse the transgender people.

Relatively, the authorities in Bogotá took the trans people into account each time they introduce the measure. They explained that an individual identified as a man could go out on the days for men, and vice versa. 

Request to Abandon the Measure

The group sent the mayor a letter urging her to abandon the measure and just follow the other cities of Colombia by limiting movements of the population based on ID numbers instead of gender.

On the contrary, Lopez's supporters claim it would engage the checking of ID cards by the police, which may increase the danger of hand-to-hand infection.

This argument takes on extra importance, especially that Lopez is the first female Bogotá mayor, not to mention, "The first openly gay mayor of Latin America."

More so, she also has a long history of advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

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