How COVID-19 impacted women

14th April 2021

In February 2021, the Women and Equalities Committee published a report on how long-standing gender differences and inequalities for women have been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic and the furlough scheme. We look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women. 

In this article for Reward Strategy Magazine, Associate Madeleine Mould considers the various factors the report covered including how the furlough scheme disadvantaged women, the effect of childcare responsibilities, poor treatment of pregnant workers, as well as the disproportionate representation of women in badly affected sectors or in insecure work.

Madeleine goes on to look at the recommendations coming out of the report which the Committee believes are necessary to redress this significant imbalance, including urging the Government to bring forward legislation in an Employment Bill by June 2021.

Update: Since this article was written the Government has published its response to the Women and Equalities Committee report and it has rejected most of the Committee’s recommendations. However, the Government has stated that it wants to encourage flexible working and will issue a consultation paper in due course about making flexible working the default position. In addition, it will progress the Employment Bill “when parliamentary time allows”. Significantly, the Bill was not mentioned at all in the recent Queen’s Speech of 11 May 2021.

Investment is on typically male-dominated industries.

Looking ahead

The report highlights that the Government’s ‘build, build, build’ strategy for the economic recovery, the focus is on typically male-dominated industries with no clear policies as to how to provide training and support for women to enter these sectors.

The report argues for greater investment in the care sector, including childcare. Not only would this create more jobs for women (with a greater proportion of women working in the care sector than men), improving childcare provision would remove the barriers to retaining, job-seeking and work for women.

Read the article on ‘how COVID-19 impacted women’ in full here.

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