The report identifies three key reasons the pandemic has impacted women differently.
Frontline jobs. Women are more likely to have jobs in sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic and could not be done remotely, the hospitality and services sectors. Women are also over-represented in low-skilled, informal and part-time work, or in ‘invisible’ jobs such as unpaid care work or agricultural work for family businesses. As a result, women were more likely to experience income loss and found it financially more difficult to endure the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Selective access to social protection. Women who stay at home, work the land, or help in the family business are often ‘invisible’ and not covered by the social protection system. These ‘invisible’ women lack access to health insurance, sick leave, unemployment insurance, or a pension. Women were also less likely to be covered by the COVID-19 relief packages targeted at working adults.
Increased domestic burden. Women traditionally carry out caregiving roles and have faced an increased burden in the wake of school closures. Less-educated women were most strongly affected by the unequal division of domestic chores within families. Less-educated women, thus, face a set of mutually-reinforcing challenges: they are more likely to have lost jobs or income due to the pandemic, they are less likely to be covered by social protection or the COVID emergency measures and they shoulder the lion’s share of unpaid family work, which creates a real barrier to finding new work opportunities.