Women have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns in many countries. According to UN Women survey results from Asia and the Pacific, women are losing their jobs faster than men and have fewer options to generate income. Women tend to be heavily employed in vulnerable sectors like retail and hospitality - or have informal jobs that lack protections like paid sick leave or unemployment insurance. Based on the figure above, 53% of women work in industries most affected by Covid-19, in comparison to 44% of men.
Apart from unemployment, women also face low wages. According to UN Women, estimates suggest that informal workers worldwide lost an average of 60% of their income during the first month of the pandemic, with Asia and the Pacific losing 22%. Unpaid care work has increased dramatically among women. A 2-hour increase in unpaid care work for women has resulted in a 10% decrease in labour force participation.
Responding to the pandemic is about more than just redressing long-standing inequalities; it is also about creating a resilient world in the interests of all, with women at the forefront of recovery. Let us move forward with a unified vision and action towards women economic empowerment.