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Saturday, September 19, 2020
Valeria Esquivel is Senior Employment Policies and Gender Officer, Employment, Labour Markets and Youth Branch, International Labour Organization (ILO)
GENEVA, Aug 20 2020 (IPS) - The pandemic is disproportionately affecting women workers. Governments should prioritize policies that offset the effects the COVID-19 crisis is having on their jobs.
I am a feminist economist. My job is to examine how the inequalities between women and men are part and parcel of the functioning of labour markets, and to assist our constituents in implementing what we call “gender-responsive” employment policies – i.e., macroeconomic, sectoral and labour market policies that explicitly contribute to gender equality.
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis large numbers of women were excluded from the labour market. The pandemic has made things much worse.
It is disproportionately affecting women workers who are losing their jobs at a greater speed than men. More women than men work in sectors that have been hard hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, such as tourism, hospitality and the garment sector. Large numbers of domestic workers, most of whom are women, are also at risk of losing their jobs. The vast majority of health workers are women, which raises the risk of them catching the virus.
One of the ideas at the core of feminist economics is that the unpaid care work that takes place in households and families to support everyday life is a vital part of the economic system. This type of work is primarily carried out by women and most of the time is not recognized as such. School closures and caring for those who become sick, has forced women lucky enough to remain in employment to cut down on paid working hours or to extend total working hours (paid and unpaid) to unsustainable levels.
Here are five ways to ensure that women’s job prospects are not damaged long-term by the COVID-19 crisis:
This article was originally published by Work in Progress
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