- Year of publication
- Close the Gap
This briefing uses evidence on women’s labour market participation, and analysis of the anticipated economic impacts of the current crisis to outline the impact of COVID-19 on women’s labour market equality. It also underscores the importance of gathering and using gender-sensitive sex-disaggregated data, and ensuring gender analysis informs labour market policymaking.
The main conclusion is that women will experience disproportionate labour market disruption. Overall, COVID-19 is likely to impact women’s labour market participation in a number of significant ways:
• Job disruption will disproportionately impact women because men and women tend to do different types of work. Women are more likely to work in sectors that have been affected by social distancing measures.
• 77% of people working in high exposure jobs in the UK are women.
• Women in low-paid jobs will be particularly affected by job disruption, placing them at greater risk of poverty.
• Women are disproportionately affected by the need for more unpaid care, impacting their ability to do paid work.
• Women are less likely to do a job that can be done from home during periods of social distancing, creating increased risk to their job retention and financial security.
• Women are more likely to work in a sector that has been shut down (18% compared to 14% for men).
• Shut down sectors also have an over-representation of Black and minority ethnic women (BME), migrant women, and young women. 39% of women under 25 work in these sectors, compared to 26% of men aged under 25.
• The predicted “jobs recession”will bring increased unemployment, with women more likely to lose their job than men.
• The rise in underemployment will disproportionately affect women.
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