Disabled Women and Covid- 19
Date Posted: Tuesday 16th June 2020
Latest briefing by Women’s Budget Group. Fawcett Society, London School of Economics and Queen Mary University London shows that during lockdown a shocking six in ten disabled women are struggling to access necessities from the shops (63%), compared with 46% of non-disabled men 52% of non-disabled women. Six in ten disabled women also fear missing out on medicines, compared with 43% of non-disabled women and 37% of non-disabled men. They are also under significant financial pressure with a third (34%) of disabled women said that their household has nearly run out of money, compared with a fifth (24%) of non-disabled women and men (23%). Over a third (38%) of disabled mothers said they were struggling to feed their children.
This briefing reports on analysis of a survey of 3,280 individuals, including 678 disabled people (377 women and 301 men), conducted in April 2020. For further details see the methodology section below. It finds that:
Poverty and debt
- Disabled people were most likely to say that they will come out of the coronavirus outbreak in more debt. 34.2% of disabled women said their household had already run out of money, compared to 24.4% of non-disabled women.
Time use and unpaid work
- Women reported doing more of the housework and work to look after their children, and this was no different for disabled women. 68.0% of disabled women reported doing the majority of the housework, and 72.8% reported doing the majority of work to look after their children.
- A quarter (25.5%) of disabled women and 22.3% of disabled men said they had not left their home in the past week.
- A somewhat higher proportion of disabled people working from home, but particularly disabled women, reported spending more time working now compared to before the crisis. These disabled women were also more likely to report that they are finding it more difficult to focus at work, and that they are finding work more stressful.
Parenting and childcare
- Over a third (37.7%) of disabled mothers said they were struggling to feed their children, compared to 16.7% of non-disabled mothers.
- 7% of disabled mothers reported that their children did not have access to the equipment they needed to study at home, compared to 24.2% of non-disabled mothers.
- 8% of disabled mothers said they were struggling to go to the shops or do other tasks because their child/ren were at home, 59.6% said they were struggling to balance paid work and looking after their children, and 63.0% said they were struggling to cope with all the different demands on their time.
Access to support
- 1 in 5 disabled women reported losing support from the government (20.0%), and 2 in 5 (42.9%) reported losing support from other people.
- A third (32.3%) of disabled women said they were not sure where to turn to for help as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mental health and wellbeing
- 4% of disabled women reported finding social isolation difficult to cope with, compared to 41.6% of non-disabled women.
- Disabled women were slightly more likely to say that the current situation was causing a strain in their relationships; 42.2% said that social isolation was making relationships at home more difficult, compared to 37.0% of non-disabled women.
- Just 24.9% and 28.9% of disabled women reported having high (7 or above on a 0-10 scale) life satisfaction and happiness respectively, compared to 38.6% and 39.9% of non-disabled women.
- Anxiety was highest among women overall, but particularly disabled women. Over half of disabled women (53.1%) reported high anxiety.