The pandemic risk of widening the economic gap between the sexes

La pandémie risque de creuser l'écart économique entre les sexes

WASHINGTON | The pandemic COVID-19 could compromise the progress made by women over the past three decades to reduce their economic gap with men, stresses the director general of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva in a blog post published Tuesday.

The economic shock caused by the health crisis affects women more than men because they occupy more jobs in sectors severely affected, such as service industries, retail, tourism or hospitality.

“In the United States, the unemployment rate for women was higher by two percentage points to that of men between April and June 2020,” notes Ms. Georgieva, who co-wrote the bill with three other leaders of the international monetary Fund.

Due to the nature of their employment, the telecommuting is not an option for many women (approximately 54% of women in the United States and 67 % in Brazil).

In addition, women tend to perform more domestic work unpaid than men, about 2.7 hours more per day, according to data from the IMF.

“They assume the bulk of family responsibilities resulting from the containment measures such as school closures”, are the Fund managers.

Once the measures are lifted, women take longer to find a full-time job.

In Canada, a report on employment showed in may that employment of women had increased by 1.1 %, compared with 2.4 % for men, due to the persistence of problems with child care.

More tragically, in many developing countries, young girls are forced to drop out of school and work to supplement the household income.

In India, since the entry into force of the containment, the marriages arranged for girls have increased by 30 %.

“Without education, these girls suffer a permanent loss of human capital (…) which perpetuate the cycle of poverty among women”, complain to the authors.

For all that, “well-designed policies to promote recovery can mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on women and to avoid further setbacks to the equality of the sexes,” write they.

And quote of the positive initiatives carried out in Austria, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia, where a statutory right to a leave of absence (partially) paid to parents with children below a certain age has been established.

France had it, extended the sick leave for parents affected by the school closures if no support or any other mode of working could not be found.

Share Button