Report highlights impact of COVID-19 on BAME women

A new analysis shows BAME women are struggling significantly more than their white counterparts as a result of COVID-19 and getting less support.

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BAME people working from home are more likely to say they are working more than prior to the COVID-19 lockdown and nearly half of BAME women are struggling with work life balance compared with just over a third of white women, according to a new analysis.

The study by Women’s Budget Group, Fawcett Society, Queen Mary University London and London School of Economics shows 41% of BAME women and 40% of BAME men say they are working more than before lockdown compared with 29% of white people. Nearly half of BAME women (45%) say they are struggling to cope with the demands on their time, compared with 35% of white women and 30% of white men.

The survey, which focused on BAME women, also shows 43% of disabled or retired BAME women and 48% BAME men say that they have lost government support compared with 13% of white women and 21% white men in the same group. Over half (51%) of disabled or retired BAME women also said they were not sure where to turn to for help compared with 1 in 5 (19%) of white women with BAME women being significantly less likely to say that there were people outside of their household who they could rely on for help (47.4% compared to 57.2%). The Fawcett Society points out that this is despite BAME people being at higher risk from the coronavirus than white people.

The survey also showed 65.1% BAME women and 73.8% of BAME men working outside the home reported anxiety as a result of having to go out to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the key findings centre around finances, with 42.9% BAME women saying they believe they will be in more debt than before the pandemic compared to 37.1% of white women and 34.2% of white men. Nearly a quarter of BAME mothers reported that they were struggling to feed their children (23.7%, compared to 19% of white mothers).

Zubaida Haque, Interim Director of the Runnymede Trust said: “This survey starkly illustrates the higher levels of health and economic burden among BME women, including the higher proportions of BME mothers reporting that they are struggling to feed their children, compared to their white counterparts. Unless the Chancellor takes more steps to strengthen the social security safety net during Covid-19, the racial inequality gap between BME and white groups will get even wider, leaving BME groups, and BME women in particular, even more vulnerable to the bleak and unequal consequences of Covid-19.”


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