The reverberating economic shock of the sars coronavirus crisis has delivered a huge setback for women, as many work in the poorly exposed services sector, experts say.
The nature of the epidemic means that women are more likely than men to lose or leave their jobs precarious, low-paid workplaces, such as bars, conference rooms, beauty salons, hotels, pubs and restaurants, face a huge downtime.
The closure of schools during the lockout have made the situation worse, because more women than men tend to care for and teach their children, even working at home.
The services sector, covering areas such as hospitality and leisure, has been ravaged by bans imposed by governments around the world trying to stop the spread of the disease.
– Loss of income –
“In the united KINGDOM and the united states, women are more likely to lose their jobs because they are more likely to work in services,” said the University of Cambridge economics professor Christopher Rauh.
“When you lose your job, you are not only losing income now-but also, later,” he told AFP.
As a “closure” of the facility, and the rate of infection and death of the fall, the services sector is often the last to reopen, because it tends to rely on a large number of people in close contact.
In Britain, stay-at-home measures began to be relaxed earlier this month, but pubs, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen only from 4 July.
The different stages of the re-opening of England began with open-air markets and car showrooms, and some younger children have returned to school.
However, not all primary school children will be back before the long summer break that begins in mid-July and will continue until the beginning of September.
Within family units, mothers were 1.5 times more likely than fathers to lose or quit their job since the beginning of the crisis, according to the think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Women are also more likely than men to have been furloughed, or temporarily paid by the government of the united KINGDOM employment retention scheme, he added.
Mothers traditionally assume a greater share of unpaid household work on top of their paid work.
– Afraid to ask –
Sarah, who works in London, in the film industry, which stays in place all day until 1:00 am to meet a deadline, long after her son and her daughter went to bed.
“I have not dared to ask my boss for a working arrangement — I don’t want to think I can’t handle,” she told AFP.
Single parents face even greater demands with one fewer pair of hands.
“At the beginning of the locking, it was awful,” said a single mother working in the pharmaceutical sector in Paris who declined to give his name.
“I couldn’t organize myself properly, fiddling with the video conferences, distance learning, cooking meals and cleaning… and wondering what time off of work in the evening,” she told AFP.
She described her working day as a “marathon” that has left her exhausted.
“Among my single parent friends, it was the mother who took care of the children during the lockout. It feels like we are turning back the clock 50 years ago, ” she said.
– The 1950s? –
The Financial Times also wondered if the COVID-19 emergency health has implemented the women for decades.
“Is the coronavirus crisis of women since the 1950s? “the daily business newspaper asked in a comment piece in this month, citing unfair demands placed on women.
In contrast with the current health emergency, the men were at the sharp end in the notorious 2008 global financial crisis triggered the previous global recession.
That severely hurt production sectors such as construction and manufacturing.
“During the recession of 2008… the men were the first to be affected,” said C. Nicole Mason, head of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, of reflection.
“This time, because women are over-represented in the service sector, they will experience disproportionately higher unemployment and the loss of a job, compared to men. “
© 2020 AFP