Women’s unemployment has increased more than men’s during the corona crisis, according to the UN. In addition, women are to a lesser extent protected by social security systems such as unemployment benefits and health insurance. At the same time, many women work in health care who are under severe pressure.
In Sweden, the effects of the pandemic initially hit male-dominated industries, such as industry, where there were many layoffs. But in the long run, the female-dominated service industry, such as trade and the hotel and restaurant industry, has been hit hard.
– In addition to women being affected by losing their jobs, they can lose financially by being at home when schools close. It is women who take a greater share of the burden when it comes to babysitting, says Peter Vikström, who is head of analysis at the Gender Equality Authority, whose task is to monitor the consequences of the pandemic in Sweden.
In survey conducted by SVT Nyheter also shows that women small business owners have received a smaller share of support money from government crisis support.
Even before the pandemic, the women of the world spent on average almost three times as much time as men doing housework. Now, women’s unpaid work has increased further, according to the UN. When schools and preschools close and older relatives become ill, it is women who stay at home.
– This is a huge issue. Many women who had jobs that they could go to have been forced to leave them when they have taken over this responsibility, which they have not been asked if they are ready to take over, says Åsa Regnér, Deputy Head of the UN Unit for Women rights.
How the trend of teleworking will affect development in Sweden remains to be seen.
– It could be more equal if both work more at home, but there are still question marks, says Peter Vikström.
Violence against women
The UN estimates that violence against women has increased by 20-30 percent during the pandemic. It includes both violence in close relationships and political violence against women.
Also in Sweden, there are clear signs of increased violence and oppression of honor against women, according to the Gender Equality Authority, even though it is difficult to get an overall picture of the situation due to lack of statistics. And more women’s shelters testify about increased load.
– With increased financial pressure, the risk of violence increases and if you are in a violent situation, the situation can worsen if you are isolated with your perpetrator. Our assessment is that there will be a pent-up need to deal with these issues after the pandemic, says head of analysis Peter Vikström.
If nothing radical happens, nearly 50 million women worldwide will fall into poverty by the end of the year, according to UN estimates. Since women spend a larger part of their income on their family, the children are also affected.
The countries that were more equal before the pandemic seem to be doing better. What will be decisive is what measures the countries of the world take to get out of the crisis.
– There is a risk of a setback for gender equality, especially internationally. But you can see this as an opportunity to build a society that has better conditions for gender equality. It is not fateful, says Peter Vikström at the Gender Equality Authority.
If you look at the direct health effects, men have become more seriously ill with covid-19 and been intensively cared for to a greater extent. But long-term effects affect women, according to Peter Vikström at the Gender Equality Authority.
– There are more men who have died, but women have been affected more indirectly by the fact that they have to a lesser extent been able to distance themselves and work at home. And we have seen that especially younger women have suffered from mental illness due to closed schools and isolation.
In 2020 increased the number of reported occupational diseases with as much as 119 percent among women, according to preliminary statistics from the Swedish Work Environment Authority. Many were linked to covid-19.
Source site www.svt.se