Covid-19: Will the economic impact on women set gender equality back decades?

Leanne Wilson, Graeme Roy (Editor)

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    The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a global health emergency but an economic one. UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrank by 10.4% in quarter two of 2020 with an unprecedented fall of 20.4% in April (ONS, 2020b). Undoubtably this will have a lasting impact on the labour market and exacerbate income inequalities particularly for women and minorities (Fasih et al., 2020). Emerging projections show that the current global recession will “result in a prolonged dip in women’s incomes and labour force participation” (United Nations, 2020). This could be compared to the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, however, there are stark differences which will have a greater negative impact on women (Alon et al., 2020 and Queisser et al., 2020) such as the sectorial differences in the impact on the labour market and the closure of all childcare facilities and schools. Although some argue that there are emerging signs of optimistic outcomes, such as the shift of household gender norms, the evidence is limited (Schulte and Swenson, 2020; Carlson et al., 2020). This essay explores these factors from a feminist economic perspective and argues that the COVID-19 emergency will have a damaging impact on gender equality, potentially setting back progress by decades. It argues that government interventions that move beyond the traditional economic stimulus packages are required to ensure that the recovery is one that rectifies rather than entrenches gender inequality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages7
    JournalFraser of Allander Economic Commentary
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2020


    • gender
    • Scottish economcs
    • Scotlands budget
    • COVID-19 pandemic

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