BAME women and Covid-19

Date Posted: Monday 8th June 2020

Womens’ Budget Group along with Fawcett Society, London School of Economics and Queen Mary University London conducted polling to explore the impact coronavirus is having on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people and in particular women.

Below are the main findings and the full report can be accessed here.

Key facts

Poverty and debt

  • BAME women are slightly more worried about being in more debt as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 42.9% BAME women said they believed they would be in more debt, compared to 37.1% of white women, and 34.2% of white men. A similar proportion, 42.9% of BAME women, said they would struggle to make ends meet over the next three months.
  • A quarter of BAME mothers reported that they were struggling to feed their children (23.7%).

Work and employment

  • Work-related anxiety for those working outside the home was highest among BAME people, with 65.1% BAME women and 73.8% of BAME men reporting anxiety as a result of having to go out to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Of those who were now working from home, A higher proportion of BAME people (41.0% of women and 39.8% of men) reported working more than they did before the pandemic, compared to white people (29.2% of women and 28.5% of men).

Domestic and care work

  • Nearly half of BAME women (45.4%) said they were struggling to cope with all the different demands on their time at the moment, compared to 34.6% of white women and 29.6% of white men.
  • Around three quarters of women reported doing the majority of the housework or of the childcare during lockdown. This was similar for BAME and white women.
  • Almost half (45.8%) of parents said they were struggling to balance paid work and caring for their children, 47.1% that they were struggling with all the competing demands, and 42.7% that they were struggling to go to the shops or do other tasks because their children were home. For all of these questions, BAME women were most likely to report that they were struggling, and white men least likely.

Access to support

  • Of people who were not in employment due to disability or were retired:
    • Over twice as many BAME women and men reported that they had recently lost support from the government (42.5% and 48.3%) than white women and men (12.7% and 20.6%).
    • BAME respondents were also more likely to say they had lost support from other people (48.3% BAME women compared to 34.0% white women) and were less likely to say that there were people outside of their household who they could rely on for help (47.4% compared to 57.2%).
    • Over half of BAME women said that they were ‘not sure where to turn for help as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, compared to 18.7% of white respondents.

Health and wellbeing

  • Women in general and BAME women in particular expressed more concern about access to NHS treatment and medicine over the coming months.
  • Around 2 in 5 people said they were finding social isolation difficult to cope with, although still high this was lowest among white men (37.4%).
  • Life satisfaction and happiness were lowest for BAME women, and anxiety was highest for all women compared to men. Average life satisfaction before the coronavirus pandemic (July to September 2019) was 7.7, while average happiness was 7.5, and average anxiety was 2.9. Scores for BAME women in the current survey were 5.1, 5.3 and 5.4 respectively.