COVID-19: 68% of jobs lost by women in Quebec | Coronavirus

From October 2019 to October 2020, 68% of the jobs lost in Quebec were filled by women, according to the Ministry of Labor.

This is double the job loss among men. Most of these women have been affected by massive layoffs in the catering, tourism or culture sectors.

The Minister of Labor Jean Boulet therefore appeals to women to re-enter the labor market, but also to employers to put in place working conditions that favor its maintenance.

The women most affected by the crisis

The first wave of coronavirus has had serious consequences on the quality of life of women. Their social precariousness has significantly increased. They were more likely than men to have to telework and work overtime while doing family chores.

The responsibilities were greater due to the confinement and closure of schools and kindergartens.

Those who were still working and who did not lose their jobs still had to manage to achieve their goals at work by accumulating all these stressors. The mental load was extremely high. Jobs are therefore affected in many wayssays Marianne Dessureault, of the Quebec Public Health Association.

Because they couldn’t reconcile everything, some women even resigned themselves to quitting their jobs. A reality particularly felt in the manufacturing sector. Before the crisis, around 27% of employees in this sector were women.

It has really been since the time of the birth that we have seen the number of women decrease. There are several women who have not returned to work after part of the manufacturing sector closed in the springsays Véronique Proulx, CEO of Quebec Manufacturers & Exporters.

It said female employment in the manufacturing sector fell 20%, while male employment increased 7%, according to data provided in October.

It is clear that this worries us a lot. The manufacturing sector was experiencing a labor shortage before the crisis and this is still true. We are still having a hard time finding the workers we need. It is difficult for us to deprive ourselves of this pool of workerscontinues Mrs. Proulx.

These figures also seriously concern the Minister of Labor Jean Boulet. We need to help these women retrain. Women have immense potential in a context of economic recovery.

He invites them to register quickly for the recently launched Recovery Assistance with Training (PARAF) program. This program aims to provide training for people who wish to upgrade their skills or retrain.

According to Mr. Boulet, several occupational sectors are booming, such as construction, information technology, communications, transportation, health and education.

With a strong presence in the healthcare sector, women have been overexposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The responsibility of employers and the government

I also make a parallel appeal to employers: be open, show flexibility, realize the importance of this enormous potential to meet your needs! There is a huge space for women and there is an extremely urgent demand to help us bring about a prosperous and inclusive recovery..

Véronique Proulx also launches an appeal: We tell women, there is a place for you! And especially for those who have lost their jobs. We just have to be able to make known the opportunities that exist.

Everyone agrees, however, that the balance between work and family will be key. The OQI and ASPQ report (New window) shows that 51% of women found it difficult to reconcile their personal and family life with work and / or studies.

According to Ms Dessureault of the ASPQ, the government has part of the responsibility for facilitating this reconciliation, in particular by facilitating access to daycare services and implementing measures for children’s academic success.

In the event of another confinement, experts believe it is also crucial to put in place housing measures for parents who have confined the children.

Ms Dessureault adds that the government must also ensure, when implementing policies, that it does not create or accentuate inequalities for women and minorities.

When we pass laws, we need to wear glasses that allow us to better analyze the impacts to make sure they don’t further exclude women or other more vulnerable groups.

A quote from Marianne Dessureault, of the Quebec Public Health Association.

The pandemic has vulnerable women

Reduced income or job losses are among the factors that have contributed to the deterioration of women’s mental health over the past nine months.

The OQI and ASPQ report indicates that nearly one in five women have felt more depressed and anxious since March. About 65 percent of study participants from both organizations say their stress levels have increased.

The report also raises the red flag on the rise in situations of violence and exploitation. Since the start of the pandemic, twice as many young women between the ages of 18 and 34 have reported being victims of physical or verbal violence.

The health emergency has had other disproportionate impacts on women’s health. Because they are predominant in the healthcare sector, they have been overexposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection. They were therefore more likely than men to contract the disease.

About 1,500 women were interviewed as part of the OQI and ASPQ study.

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