The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people all over the world, but its impact has not been evenly distributed. Women have been hit harder than men by the pandemic, especially when it comes to employment. This is because women are more likely to work in vulnerable sectors like retailing and personal care.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Women’s Employment
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on women’s employment. Women are more likely to work in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, such as retail, hospitality, and personal care. These sectors have been hit hard by lockdowns, social distancing measures, and other restrictions, which have forced many businesses to close or reduce their operations.
As a result, many women have lost their jobs or have been forced to reduce their working hours. In the United States, for example, women accounted for 55% of the job losses in the first year of the pandemic. In the European Union, women’s employment fell by 2.5% in 2020, compared to a 1.9% decline for men. In low-income countries, the impact has been even greater, with women’s employment falling by 15.6%, compared to 13.9% for men.
Why Women Are More Vulnerable
There are several reasons why women are more likely to work in vulnerable sectors and therefore more likely to be affected by the pandemic. One reason is that women are overrepresented in certain types of jobs, such as care work and retail, that are more likely to be affected by the pandemic. Women are also more likely to work in part-time or low-paid jobs, which may not provide job security or benefits like paid sick leave.
In addition, women are more likely to be responsible for caregiving and domestic work, which can make it harder for them to work outside the home. School closures and other disruptions caused by the pandemic have made it even more difficult for women to balance work and caregiving responsibilities, especially in countries where public services like childcare are limited.
The Impact on Women’s Health and Well-Being
The impact of the pandemic on women’s employment has also had an impact on their health and well-being. Women who have lost their jobs or have had their working hours reduced may struggle to make ends meet, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Women who are still employed may face increased pressure and stress as they try to balance work and caregiving responsibilities.
In addition, women who work in essential jobs, such as healthcare and retail, may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Women who are pregnant or have underlying health conditions may be at even greater risk, as they may be more vulnerable to the virus.
What Can Be Done to Address the Issue?
To address the impact of the pandemic on women’s employment, there are several steps that can be taken. First, governments and employers can take steps to provide support to workers in vulnerable sectors, such as paid sick leave, childcare subsidies, and job training programs. This can help to ensure that women are not left behind as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
Second, employers can take steps to promote gender equality in the workplace, such as implementing policies to address pay equity and supporting women’s career advancement. This can help to ensure that women have access to the same opportunities and benefits as men, which can help to reduce their vulnerability during times of crisis.
Finally, individuals can take steps to support women during the pandemic, such as by advocating for policies that promote gender equality, supporting women-owned businesses, and volunteering with organizations that provide support to women in need.
It is not uncommon for women to feel that their workplace is not allowing them to reach their full potential and these issues can be incredibly stressful and intimidating. By working with an attorney, you can get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have someone on your side who is fighting for you. If you feel you are or have been discriminated against or retaliated against at work for say, taking leave to have a child, to help take care of a loved one or even taking leave for your mental health, contact Rob Wiley, PC today.