Women face less re-employment rate in COVID-19 recovery: ILO | Daily News

Women face less re-employment rate in COVID-19 recovery: ILO

Fewer women will regain jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic during the recovery period compared to men, a new study released on Monday by the the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated.

In the report, which is titled ‘Building Forward Fairer: Women’s Rights to Work and at Work at the Core of the COVID-19 Recovery’, the ILO highlighted that between 2019 and 2020, women’s employment declined by 4.2% globally, representing 54 million jobs, while men suffered a 3% decline, or 60 million jobs.

This means that there will be 13 million fewer women in employment this year compared to 2019, but the number of men in work will likely recover to levels seen two years ago. This means that only 43% of the world’s working-age women will be employed in 2021, compared to 69% of their male counterparts.

The ILO paper suggests that women have seen disproportionate job and income losses because they are over-represented in the sectors hit hardest by lockdowns, such as accommodation, food services and manufacturing. Not all regions have been affected in the same way. For example, the study revealed that women’s employment was hit hardest in the Americas, falling by more than 9%.

This was followed by the Arab States at just over 4%, then Asia-Pacific at 3.8%, Europe at 2.5%, and Central Asia at 1.9%. In Africa, men’s employment dropped by just 0.1% between 2019 and 2020, while women’s employment decreased by 1.9%.

Throughout the pandemic, women faired considerably better in countries that took measures to prevent them from losing their jobs and allowed them to get back into the workforce as early as possible. In Chile and Colombia, for example, wage subsidies were applied to new hires, with higher subsidy rates for women.

Colombia and Senegal were among those nations which created or strengthened support for women entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, in Mexico and Kenya, quotas were established to guarantee that women benefited from public employment programmes.

To address these imbalances, gender-responsive strategies must be at the core of recovery efforts, says the agency. It is essential to invest in the care economy because the health, social work and education sectors are important job generators, especially for women, according to ILO.

Moreover, care leave policies and flexible working arrangements can also encourage a more even division of work at home between women and men. The current gender gap can also be tackled by working towards universal access to comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection.

Promoting equal pay for work of equal value is also a potentially decisive and important step. Domestic violence and work-related gender-based violence and harassment has worsened during the pandemic, further undermining women’s ability to be in the workforce—and the report highlighted the need to eliminate the scourge immediately.

Promoting women’s participation in decision-making bodies, and more effective social dialogue, would also make a major difference, said the ILO.

(UN News)

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