The corona crisis threatens to push women’s emancipation back a few years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wrote in a blog on Tuesday. After all, economically women are hit harder by the corona crisis than men. As a result, inequality between men and women has been increasing for years, after gender inequality has actually decreased in recent decades.
IMF gives several reasons why the position of the woman is under pressure again in corona time. The main reason is the sectors in which women often work: service sectors where there is a lot of one-to-one contact, such as tourism, retail, but also the catering industry. These industries were more often out of work due to global lockdown measures.
In addition, it is more difficult to work from home in these sectors, as a result of which women are more likely to lose their jobs than men: in the United States, the number of unemployed women was 2 percentage points higher than the number of unemployed men between April and June, the IMF writes.
Furthermore, women are more often than men active in the informal, ‘black’ economy. This includes jobs such as cleaning and babysitting. In the informal sector, it is easier to be put on the street in an economic headwind.
Tailored policies should narrow the gap
According to the IMF, women are also more concerned with housekeeping and childcare, which means that they often have to give up paid work first when children cannot go to school.
Finally, young women in poor countries are more often asked to drop out of school and help in the household when an economic crisis threatens. As a result, the woman loses “human capital”, according to the UN organization.
The widening gap between men and women could be narrowed again with tailor-made policies, IMF writes. This includes subsidies for childcare and the provision of parental leave.