A recent report by the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics reflects that in December 2020, the economy lost 140,000 jobs, all of which belonged to women. The shocking statistics released on Friday come as damning evidence of how unemployment has affected women in the US at an unprecedented rate. According to the report, while women accounted for all the 156,000 job losses, men gained 16,000. This BLS data comes following others that have shown the pandemic has cost women their jobs at a rate much higher than it has men.
The BLS report showed that while the US economy lost out on 140,000 jobs, the unemployment rate remained static at 6.7 percent. Graphs by CNN further denoted that these numbers reflected a deep gender gap where women lost out way more than men gained. Probing deeper, the study further revealed that Black and Latin women suffered graver losses, even as White women made gains. Sectors that have been hit the hardest are reportedly education, hospitality, and retail.
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Why Has The Pandemic Affected Women’s Unemployment More?
According to their estimations, American women ended the year with 5.4 million fewer jobs than in February, while for men the number was pegged at 4.4 million. Experts claim the lack of office policies and job security for women is among the reasons the corporate sector is yet to fully assimilate them into its fold.
The Center for American Progress stated in 2020, “Four times as many women as men dropped out of the labor force in September, roughly 865,000 women compared with 216,000 men.” The study further estimated the risk of working mothers dropping out to assume domestic responsibilities amounted to “$64.5 billion per year in lost wages and economic activity.”
Further research by Brookings shows that more women than men were anyway employed in low-paying jobs, which is why the pandemic was harsher on them.
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How The Pandemic Affected Women In India
In September last year, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that COVID-19 sought to reverse “decades of limited and fragile progress on gender equality and women’s rights.” In India, the already large gap between the percentage of unpaid female (66 per cent) and male workers (12 per cent) has only been widened by the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy in May showed that over 122 million people in India lost their jobs in April. SheThePeople spoke with seven women to understand what is influencing their spending decisions. Read more about it here.