COVID-19 vs the Gender Gap

COVID-19+vs+the+Gender+Gap

Ria Bhatia, Editor-in-Chief

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the gender gap in employment and the workforce has continued to widen. Many women lost their jobs amidst the pandemic and most of them have not re-entered the workforce since, widening the gender pay gap.

In 2020, around 54 million women worldwide were unemployed, and almost 90% of these women have remained unemployed. With less demand in many areas like tourism, gyms, and other recreational activities, the pandemic is responsible for a large portion of unemployment, especially with women.

With many in high-risk jobs or jobs that no longer exist, women were put in a tough position. Many had to choose between their families and their jobs, and some did not have a choice in this matter. As the pandemic continues, more and more jobs are vulnerable to changes, removal, automation, health risks, etc.

For working mothers, employment has been a challenge. As the school year began, many mothers were not able to re-enter the workforce due to online schooling. Many unemployed mothers chose to stay at home instead and face increased childcare responsibilities.

On the other hand, many mothers had to explore the limited options of childcare, since many were closed at the hands of the pandemic. Some had to demote or downsize their jobs in order to take care of their families, widening the disparity between the amount of men and women in senior positions.

While both men and women in the workforce have suffered, the men’s employment rate is predicted to be back to normal within a year. But for women, their employment rate is expected to be millions fewer than before. By the time the male population is able to regain their normal rates, women will be trailing much further behind.

As more and more women permanently exit the workforce, the gender gap continues to widen. The US has regressed in its progress to have equality in the workforce, and it could take years, if not decades, to return to the progress the US had initially made.

As the disparity between men and women becomes increasingly apparent, the public and politicians have been placing pressure on President Joe Biden to take action. The Biden administration has proposed many policies and programs, but there has been no progress in passing such bills as the gap continues to widen.

 

 

Sources:

“The pandemic drove women out of the workforce. Will they come back?” https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/22/coronavirus-pandemic-women-workforce-500329
“The pandemic’s gender effect” https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/five-fifty-the-pandemics-gender-effect