COVID-19 lockdown hits working mothers harder than fathers | World Economic Forum

by pregnancy journalist

“Of parents who were in paid work prior to the lockdown, mothers are one-and-a-half times more likely than fathers to have either lost their job or quit since the lockdown began,” the researchers wrote. “In all, mothers who were in paid work in February are nine percentage points less likely to be currently working for pay – either remotely or on-site – than fathers.”

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

In 2014/15, mothers were in paid work at 80% of the rate of fathers; now this is 70% of the fathers’ rate. Before COVID-19, mothers in paid work worked an average of 73% of the hours fathers worked, and this has now fallen to 68%.

The effects of this discrepancy will endure far past the pandemic, the researchers said, because workers who have lost their jobs permanently may struggle to find new ones, and workers who have reduced their hours may struggle to increase them again. Meanwhile workers whose productivity has suffered due to interruptions may be penalized in pay and promotion decisions.

These accelerators have been convened in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Peru in partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank.

In 2019 Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women represent only a little over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women who are in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.

In these countries CEOs and ministers are working together in a three-year time frame on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

Even so, there might be a silver lining in the IFS study. One positive is that the “substantial shock” to families’ typical arrangements gives men a greater awareness of the “scale and scope” of domestic tasks; this could result in a longer-term shift in how family members divide paid work and unpaid household responsibilities, the report said.

This content was originally published here.

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