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The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality

January 7, 2021

Kuala Lumpur Research Seminar Series

  • The economic downturn caused by the current COVID-19 outbreak has substantial implications for gender equality, both during the downturn and the subsequent recovery. Compared to “regular” recessions, which affect men’s employment more severely than women’s employment, the employment drop related to social distancing measures has a large impact on sectors with high female employment shares. In addition, closures of schools and daycare centers have massively increased child care needs, which has a particularly large impact on working mothers. The effects of the crisis on working mothers are likely to be persistent, due to high returns to experience in the labor market. Beyond the immediate crisis, there are opposing forces which may ultimately promote gender equality in the labor market. First, businesses are rapidly adopting flexible work arrangements, which are likely to persist. Second, there are also many fathers who now have to take primary responsibility for child care, which may erode social norms that currently lead to a lopsided distribution of the division of labor in house work and child care.

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  • Titan Alon is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California San Diego. His research focuses on Macroeconomics, Labor, and Growth. Previously, he was the Louis A. Simpson Postdoc in Macroeconomics at Princeton University. He have also worked as a research associate in the Macroeconomics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2009-2011. He received Bachelor's in Economics from Harvard University in 2009, a M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics in 2012, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern in 2018.


  • WHEN (KUALA LUMPUR TIME): Thursday, January 7, 2020: 9:00 -10:00am
  • WHEN (ET/WASHINGTON, D.C. TIME): Wednesday, January 6, 2020: 8:00 – 9:00pm
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