COVID-19 led to women loss more than the combined wealth of 98 countries: Report

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Working Women
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Gender disparity was existing across the globe even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the crisis has created the inequality in incomes between men and women even further. 

The pandemic had a severe economic impact on women due to over-representation in sectors that were the hardest hit by the crisis, a report by Oxfam International, an international non-profit organization, reveals.

According to estimates by Oxfam International, women around the world lost at least $800 billion in income last year. That’s more than the combined gross domestic product of 98 countries, the $700 billion in market capitalization that Amazon gained in 2020, the report added.

Globally, women lost more than 64 million jobs last year, representing a 5 percent loss and exceeding 3.9 percent loss for men. The report adds that it may not even reflect the true extent of the pandemic’s economic impact.

Gabriela Bucher
Gabriela Bucher
Executive Director
Oxfam International

“This conservative estimate doesn’t even include wages lost by the millions of women working in the informal economy, domestic workers, market vendors and garment workers, who have been sent home or whose hours and wages have been drastically cut. COVID-19 has dealt a striking blow to recent gains for women in the workforce.”

The report further found that women are more likely to drop out of the workforce or reduce hours during the pandemic than men, largely due to their care responsibilities. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), even in countries where men’s unemployment rate outpaced that of women, more women left the labor market entirely in 2020.

The pandemic has only increased the trend that already existed. Before the pandemic period also women and girls were put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work each day, a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year, more than three times the size of the global tech industry.

Further, Ms. Bucher noted that “Fair and sustainable economic recovery is one that supports women’s employment and unpaid care work through strong social safety nets and vibrant care infrastructures. Recovery from COVID-19 is impossible without women recovering.”

As the global economy recovers from the pandemic, governments around the world should work to build a more equal and inclusive economy, with increased investment in gender, racial and climate-led recovery, Ms. Bucher added.

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