May 29, 2024

The Future of Work is Sexist: COVID-19’s impact on the lives of women and girls has rolled back progress

(Atlanta, Georgia; June 8, 2022) – It is being called the 4th Industrial Revolution spurred by COVID19. A revolutionization and modernization of the workforce. But unlike previous revolutions this one is leaving women behind according to a new report released today titled The Future of Work is Sexist.

“We are headed down a path that will set women back a generation, that is the equivalent of more than 35 years, this is not the path we want to end up on. There is time to reverse course,” CARE Senior Director of Thought Leadership, Emily Janoch said. “It means ensuring equal pay, reducing unpaid care burdens that disproportionately fall on women and it means ensuring there are more women in leadership roles. These are all achievable goals if prioritized.”

CARE breaks down in the report what led to this backslide.

  • Unpaid care work is skyrocketing. With lockdowns, schools closing, and higher levels of family illnesses, women in low- and middle-income countries took on 270 additional hours of unpaid care in 2020, compared to only 70 hours for men. That not only burdened women, it also took them out of the workforce.
  • Gender Based Violence rose. COVID-19 pushed violence up dramatically. 243 million women experienced violence in 2020, with some countries seeing a 5-fold increase. Lockdowns and increased pressure increased violence at home and at work. CARE’s research showed that violence against women garment workers has doubled since the onset of COVID-19—up to 53%.
  • Women’s jobs were hit hardest, recovered least. Women were 1.8 times more likely to be driven out of the workforce. Of women who lost jobs in 2020, 90% of them have left the workforce permanently. While men’s employment has returned to pre-pandemic levels (for now), at least 13 million fewer women—and probably more—have formal jobs than did in February 2020.
  • Women entrepreneurs got pushed out of even the margins. Women-led businesses were more likely to close during the pandemic than male-led businesses, and women’s businesses lost more income than male-run businesses and got fewer loans to help them recover.
  • The digital divide makes it worse. COVID-19 accelerated the digital future of work. 243 million fewer women than men are accessing mobile internet across low- and middle-income countries. In total, nearly a billion women cannot access mobile internet.
  • Leaders are usually men. Women hold only 27% of managerial positions at work, and that trend got worse in the pandemic. In health care—one job category that should be growing in the pandemic—70% of workers are women, but 75% of leaders are men. Women’s political leadership has a 78% disparity between men and women.

To schedule interviews or for more information please contact:

Rachel Kent
CARE Senior Press Officer

Source: CARE International