A new study from LSE finds women are hardest hit by COVID-19, but is hopeful that more equal sharing of care in some families as a result and greater homeworking will benefit women in the long term.
Women are more likely to lose their jobs than men in the Covid-19 economic crisis – and more likely to be taking on extra housework and childcare whether working or not, according to new research.
The study from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics finds that, unlike the previous Great Recession, the downturn triggered by Covid-19 and the lockdown has the potential to result in more women losing jobs than men – due to the impact on female-dominated sectors such as hospitality.
The research also finds that when it comes to home life, women are more likely than men to be taking on the childcare and home-schooling duties.
However, in the long term, the report says the crisis could lead to a ‘substantial shift’ in gender roles, with an increased acceptance of working from home benefiting women in particular and potentially greater equal sharing of childcare if dads work from home and mums work on the frontline or if dads don’t work. The report estimates this has happened in about 20 per cent of the households made up of a man, woman and dependent children.
The report concludes that preliminary survey evidence for the UK finds that, overall, women are more likely to lose their jobs than men.
Professor Barbara Petrongolo, Associate in Labour Markets at the CEP, said: “The Covid-19 crisis is currently widening the gender gap at work, where women are more likely to lose their jobs than men, and at home, where women are taking on the bulk of childcare.
“But there are a substantial minority of families where fathers now shoulder the bulk of childcare. Together with the way we are adapting our working lives to cope during the lockdown, this gives me hope that in the long term, a more equal society will emerge.”