Women to re-gain 13mn less jobs than men post-pandemic; ILO

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Inequalities between men and women in the workplace would endure in the foreseeable future aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to a recent policy brief, women would have 13 million fewer jobs in 2021 than in 2019, while men’s jobs will have rebounded to 2019 levels. Even while women’s predicted job growth in 2021 is higher than men’s, it will be insufficient to return women to pre-pandemic employment levels. In 2021, only 43.2 percent of working-age women in the world will be employed, compared to 68.6 percent of working-age men.

Reports show that women have suffered disproportionate job and income losses as a result of their over-representation in the hardest-hit sectors, such as accommodation and food services, and the manufacturing sector.

Women’s employment fell by 4.2 percent, or 54 million jobs, between 2019 and 2020, while men’s employment fell by 3 percent, or 60 million jobs.

During the pandemic, women faired considerably better in countries that took measures to prevent them from losing their jobs and allowed them to re-enter employment as early as possible.

The Americas experienced the greatest fall in women’s employment, a reduction of 9.4 percent, as a result of the pandemic. The second-highest drop in the number of employed women was seen in the Arab States where, between 2019 and 2020, women’s employment declined by 4.1 percent and men’s by 1.8 percent.

The brief also emphasized that “building forward fairer” means placing gender equality at the core of the recovery effort and putting in place gender-responsive strategies which include Investing in the care economy, the health, social work and education sectors, Promoting equal pay for work of equal value, Eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work, Promoting women’s participation in decision-making, and to reduce the current gender gap in social protection coverage.

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