GLOBAL DISPARITY

Women, disadvantaged groups suffered more job losses during pandemic

World Bank estimates that the pandemic widened gaps in gender, poverty.

In Summary

• It was found that women, in particular, were affected by income and employment losses.

• They also bore the brunt of the rising family care needs associated, for example, with the closures of childcare centres and schools.

Breastfeeding mothers at Pumwani Hospita. After losing jobs during the pandemic, women also bore the brunt of the rising family care needs associated with the closures of childcare centers and schools.
Breastfeeding mothers at Pumwani Hospita. After losing jobs during the pandemic, women also bore the brunt of the rising family care needs associated with the closures of childcare centers and schools.
Image: /PATRICK VIDIJA

Women, youth, urban workers, the self-employed and casual workers with lower levels of education suffered more job losses during the pandemic.

This is according to the World Bank’s World Development report of 2021.

The report revealed that women and the above mentioned disadvantaged groups were disproportionately affected by the effects of the pandemic, globally.

“An estimated 42 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men globally lost their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the report.

It was found that women, in particular, were affected by income and employment losses because they were more likely to be employed in sectors most affected by lockdown and social distancing measures.

They also bore the brunt of the rising family care needs associated, for example, with the closures of childcare centres and schools.

“Within countries, the crisis disproportionately affected disadvantaged groups. In 2020, in 70 per cent of countries, the incidence of temporary unemployment was higher for workers who had completed only Primary Education,” said the report.

It also found that disparities in job losses did not decline as Covid-19 measures were relaxed.

Women and disadvantaged groups recovered more slowly than their counterparts or were not able to substantially reverse the initial disparities in losses.

The report said that the unprecedented effects of the pandemic caught many households and firms completely unprepared.

“As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded in 2020, it became clear that many households and firms were ill-prepared to withstand an income shock of the length and scale of the pandemic,” it read.

The bank said that in 2020, more than 50 per cent of households globally were unable to sustain basic consumption for more than three months in the event of income losses.

Also, they found that the cash reserves of the average business would cover fewer than 51 days of expenses.

In turn, the economic impact of the pandemic has been widening equality gaps between gender and poverty.

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