Women will be less likely than men to find work in the post-COVID-19 period

© A. Gromico / ILO

GENEVA (ILO News) – According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), inequalities between men and women around the world, which have worsened in the world of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, will persist for the foreseeable future.

In a new briefing note, we learn that in 2021 there will be 13 million fewer women employed than in 2019, while male employment will return to the level of 2019. Even if the forecast of female employment growth for 2021 is higher than that. of men, this growth will still be insufficient to allow women to regain employment levels equivalent to the situation before the pandemic.

Globally, only 43.2% of working-age women will be employed in 2021 compared to 68.6% of working-age men.

Title Building a fairer future: women’s rights at work and in the workplace at the heart of post-COVID recoverythe ILO study shows that women have suffered disproportionate losses in terms of employment and income due to the fact that they were over-represented in the most affected sectors such as, for example, the hotel and restaurant sector as well as the manufacturing sector.

Worldwide, between 2019 and 2020, female employment fell by 4.2%, with a decline of 54 million jobs, while male employment fell by 3%, or 60 million. jobs.

Not all regions were hit with the same intensity. It is the region of the Americas that suffered the most significant losses in terms of female employment due to the pandemic (-9.4 per cent). Then there are the Arab states. Between 2019 and 2020, female employment in this region of the world fell by 4.1% compared to 1.8% for men.

In Asia-Pacific, the shock caused by the pandemic caused female employment to drop by 3.8% compared to 2.9% for men. In Europe and Central Asia, the COVID-19 crisis significantly reduced female employment compared to male employment, leading to a 2.5% decline compared to 1.9% for men.

In Africa, male employment recorded the smallest decline among all regions of the world, estimated at 0.1 percent between 2019 and 2020, while female employment fell by 1.9 percent.

During this pandemic, women have been significantly less affected in countries that have taken steps to prevent them from losing their jobs and enable them to return to work as quickly as possible.

For example, in Colombia and Chile wage subsidies were granted to new hires with higher benefits for women. Colombia and Senegal, among others, have created or strengthened support measures for female entrepreneurs. In many cases, such as Mexico and Kenya, quotas have been established to ensure that women benefit from public employment programs.

The study points out that “building more equitably” means putting gender equality at the center of recovery efforts by implementing gender-sensitive policies, among which we can cite:

  • Investing in the care economy because the health, social care and education sectors are important job generators, particularly for women, and also because free time to care for someone and flexible ways of working can foster a more equal sharing of domestic work between men and women.
  • Continue efforts towards universal access to comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection for all in order to reduce the current gender gap in social coverage.
  • Promote equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Eliminate violence and harassment in the workplace. Gender-based domestic violence, violence and workplace harassment have increased with the pandemic, reducing women’s ability to engage in paid employment.
  • Promote greater participation of women in decision-making bodies, at the level of social dialogue and institutions that bring together the social partners.

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