COVID-19

This is how COVID-19 hit women's employment

Sandra Presley, 57, attends a job fair for restaurant and hotel workers, after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were lifted, in Torrance, near Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 23, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RC2L6O9X8YAI

This job fair in the US was for restaurant and hotel workers. Image: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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COVID-19

  • New International Labour Organization analysis shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women's employment.
  • 4.2% of women's employment was elimated as a result of the pandemic from 2019 to 202, compared to 3% of men.
  • The number of men in employment is projected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, while the number of women is expected to be 13 million fewer than in 2019.

Women have been hit harder than men by job losses around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and only men's employment is likely to recover this year to 2019 levels, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday.

Women have been at greater risk of lay-offs or reduced working hours during periods of anti-infection economic and social restrictions, especially in sectors such as accommodation, food services and manufacturing, the U.N. agency said.

Percentage change in employment by sex 2006-2021, and employment rate 2021
An unequal hit on employment Image: ILO
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Many women have not only experienced severe loss of income but also continue to bear the brunt of unpaid care work.

"Even though the projected jobs growth in 2021 for women exceeds that of men, it will, nonetheless, be insufficient to bring women back to pre-pandemic employment levels," the ILO said in a report.

Globally, between 2019 and 2020, 4.2% of women's employment was eliminated as a result of the pandemic, representing a drop of 54 million jobs, compared to 3% of men's employment or 60 million jobs, it said.

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The number of employed women in 2021 is projected to be 13 million fewer than in 2019, while the number of men in employment is projected to be about the same as in 2019. "Only 43.2% of the world's working-age women will be employed in 2021, compared to 68.6% of working-age men," the ILO said.

The Americas had the largest regional drop in women's employment due to the pandemic, at 9.4%, and prospects remain bleak for women in the region, it said.

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