Submission: Coronavirus and the Gendered Economic Impact
Date Posted: Tuesday 23rd June 2020
The UK Women’s Budget Group has made a submission to the Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into the unequal impact of Coronavirus: the gendered economic impact.
In July 2020, the Committee reopened the inquiry to focus on the specific impacts of those with different and intersecting protected characteristics. WBG made the following additional submissions based on polling conducted with Survation and The Fawcett Society, LSE and QMU in April 2020:
- The impact of Coronavirus on Black, Asian and other ethnic minority women.
- The impact of Coronavirus on disabled women.
- Updated evidence on the economic impact of Coronavirus on women.
- Women are statistically more likely to be low paid key workers. Early research suggests that women may have been more likely to be furloughed, mothers appear to have been more likely to have lost their jobs than fathers and to be carrying a greater burden of unpaid work under lockdown. This, combined with pre-existing inequalities and discrimination, heightens their chances of redundancy and unemployment as the furlough scheme ends.
- Combined with pre-existing inequalities of gender, race and disability these dynamics are already impacting women’s labour market enrolment, the gender pay gap and economic inequalities between different groups of women including levels of poverty and debt.
- The Government’s response to the crisis has failed to take account of caring responsibilities and pre existing issues of low pay, insecure employment and poverty.
- Without dramatic action, especially in the care and social security systems, the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to set back economic equality between women and men decades. BAME, disabled and migrant women are at increased risk. WBG makes a series of recommendations for action at the end of this submission.
- Women are five percentage points more likely than men to have been made unemployed during the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as more likely to have been furloughed.
- Data from Turn2Us suggests a 15% increase in the gender pay gap in April alone. At the same time gender pay gap reporting has been suspended. For some women, the gender pay gap is a matter of survival as well as equality.
- 15.5% of women compared with 10.6% of men are not eligible for sick pay due to low earnings, limiting their ability to self-isolate without financial hardship.
- Women are doing double the amount of unpaid care work under lockdown than men.