That’s because the impact of pandemic-induced shutdowns has not been shared. Across the world, more women are out of work compared with men. The types of jobs and sectors impacted the most are predominantly held by women. The gender wage gap has been exacerbated, widening the retirement or pension gap and increasing the number of women and girls in extreme poverty. The UN predicts it will take at least 10 years to reverse the economic impact on women from the pandemic and, in some locations, improvements in equal pay have eroded to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.
Nurseries, child-care centers, schools and other infrastructural programs or services continue to stay closed; domestic workers are not able to provide services; programs for the elderly or infirm are cancelled. These mechanisms are crucial to the ability of both sexes to work, but they are particularly important for women – even more so for women in these service sectors significantly impacted by the pandemic. Some estimates suggest women are doing three to four times as many hours of unpaid work than their male counterparts, increasing the pressure on working women to make impossible choices. Without social care services, single mothers, women working part-time or without steady hours cannot continue to work at all. Those with financial means to cover the costs of care or ability to work remotely still face increased demands on their time, from home schooling to caring for loved ones, to overcoming interrupted supply chains to find food and basic supplies.