They're more likely to lose their jobs. They've shouldered the brunt of lockdown-era childcare and housework. So why have women and their interests been conspicuously absent from the government's response?by Zainab Asunramu / July 21, 2020 / Leave a comment
From growing cases of domestic abuse to rising job insecurity, women have borne the brunt of Covid-19’s many ravages. But there has been a dearth of women at the government’s daily Covid-19 briefings. The lack of expertise informing governmental decisions has exacerbated the unequal burden that women already face daily.
Lack of meaningful representation for women and other marginalised groups on the government’s coronavirus task force is a direct failure of leadership at the very top. And the impacts have been huge: at home, at work, and across society at large.
Juggling multiple hats
Women have been finding themselves increasingly overburdened at home, juggling multiple hats as mum, teacher, cook, cleaner and employee. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that compared to fathers, mothers were more likely to have quit or lost their jobs, or been furloughed. They were also more likely to be spending more time on household responsibilities.
Some women have had to take temporary furlough to look after children, thus risking their jobs. 78 per cent of mothers have found it challenging to balance childcare with paid work. It is no wonder that many have chosen the risk of taking voluntary furlough over burning out completely. The pandemic risks making women regress back to antiquated norms of the 1950’s, with a derailment of their careers a very real reality. It is a crying shame when you consider the fact that before the pandemic, female employment was at a record high.
And that’s not all the pressure some face at home. Over the past few months there has been a 950 per cent increase in visits to Refuge’s website (a charity supporting women and children against domestic violence) and a huge surge in calls to domestic violence helplines.
And which women are being affected by the crunch the most? Research has shown that young women under the age of 25 are one-third more likely than men to work in a sector that has closed its doors during lockdown, such as hospitality, leisure and retail. Meanwhile, Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority (BAME) women have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 42.5 per cent of BAME women have recently lost support…