UK Policy Briefings
Spring Budget 2021: Covid-19 and economic challenges for young women
Date Posted: Monday 1st March 2021
- Prior to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing labour market shock, young women were already facing disadvantage in employment in a gender earnings gap (32.8 per cent for 18-21 age group and 19 per cent for 22-29 age group), discrimination and sexual harassment.
- The pandemic economic impact has hit young women’s employment the hardest, as a third of all young women were employed in sectors facing restrictions for almost a year like hospitality, leisure and tourism.
- In May 2020, 84 per cent of young women surveyed were concerned about their future finances, 64 per cent expected to lose money because of the crisis, and a quarter said they expected to lose more than £100 a week.
- In October 2020, an estimated 1.5 million young women had lost income since the coronavirus pandemic began and 750,000 had been made to come to work despite concerns about their safety.
- The number of young women claiming benefits more than doubled between March and December 2020. 69% of young women claiming Universal Credit since March 2020 reported they had done so for the first time.
- Childcare responsibilities are a big barrier for young women to flourish in the labour market and for their financial autonomy. The coronavirus pandemic is impacting a financially fragile sector, with 58% of local authorities expecting some early childcare settings in their area to permanently close.
- Mental health has significantly deteriorated across the population since the pandemic started, with women, young people, disabled people and those facing financial difficulties the hardest hit.