Covid-19 and Women

According to the world economic forum report the pandemic has delayed gender parity by a generation.

Pandemic delays gender parity by a generation: World Economic Forum

Having lost jobs at a higher rate than men, a range of studies have shown that the covid 19 pandemic had a more severe impact on women than men. Women had to take on much more of the extra childcare burden when schools closed.

With the goal of gender parity moving further away. The effects will be felt in long term according to the Global Gender Gap Report published by the world economic forum.

In their previous report which it published round December 2019, right before the pandemic hit, they found that gender parity would be reached within next 100 years. But this year’s report shows the world is not on track to close the gender gap for another 135.6 years.

“Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity,” the WEF said in a statement.

The forum annual report tracks disparities between the genders across four areas: education, health, economics prowess and political power in 156 countries.

Workplace equality in 267 years

On the brighter side we can see that women have been closing gap in areas such as health and education. The most complex area where it has been most difficult for women is inequality in workplace. Inequality in the workplace — which has long appeared to be the stickiest area to fix — is still not expected to be erased for another 267.6 years.

And the pandemic has not helped.

A study by the UN’s International Labour Organization showed that women were most likely to lose jobs in times of crisis because of their disproportionate representation in sectors directly affected by lockdowns, pointed the WEF.

Other surveys have shown that women were carrying a greater share of the burden of increased housework and childcare during lockdowns, contributing to higher stress and lower productivity levels.

In another front men were hired back faster than women as work places opened, according to LinkedIn data referenced in the report.

“The pandemic has fundamentally impacted gender equality in both the workplace and the home, rolling back years of progress,” WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi said in the statement.

“If we want a dynamic future economy, it is vital for women to be represented in the jobs of tomorrow,” she said, stressing that “this is the moment to embed gender parity by design into the recovery.”

Political gender gap growing

It was in the political sphere that the march towards gender parity did the biggest about-face, with several large-population countries seeing the political gender gap widen, the WEF study found.

Only a quarter of parliamentary seats are held by women worldwide and only 22.6 percent of ministerial positions.

The political gender gap will not close for another 145.5 years if it continues in the same trajectory, the report found.

That marks a 50-percent hike from the estimated 95 years in the 2020 report, WEF pointed out.

Progress across the categories varies greatly in different countries and regions.

The report pointed out that while Western European countries could close their overall gender gap in 52.1 years, countries in the Middle East and North Africa will take nearly 142.4 years to do so.

Overall, the Nordic countries once again dominated the top of the table: the gap between men and women was narrowest in Iceland, for the 12th year running, followed by Finland and Norway. New Zealand took fourth place, ahead of Sweden.