Thursday April 29, 2021
Almost a trillion dollars
Oxfam: Women are footing the bill in the pandemic
Women are feeling the consequences of the pandemic much more strongly than men. They are more likely to lose their jobs and they bear the greater part of the burden of not having childcare or homeschooling. Inequality has a price, according to Oxfam: it is higher than the US defense budget.
In the past year, women lost at least $ 800 billion in income worldwide as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. That is more than the combined gross domestic product of 98 countries and exceeds Amazon’s market capitalization last year. Even the US defense budget was smaller than this bloodletting, according to calculations by the emergency aid and development organization Oxfam.
According to the organization, a total of 64 million women lost their jobs. Their share in the labor market thus fell by 5 percent, while the share of men only fell 3.9 percent. The calculation, which is based on data from the International Labor Organization (ILO), is a conservative estimate, says Oxfam.
“Women are punished twice in the pandemic: They shoulder even more unpaid care work and at the same time lose income,” criticized Sandra Dworack, development expert at Oxfam Germany. “As a matter of course, women step in when the elderly and the sick need to be cared for or children need to be looked after. But that is not a matter of course, but a social expectation that is imposed on women by sexist norms.”
Worldwide, women work disproportionately often in professions that are essential for the functioning of the economy and society, but are often poorly paid, little valued and particularly affected by the consequences of the corona pandemic, Oxfam continued. This applies, among other things, to retail, tourism or gastronomy as well as social and health services. In South Asia, Africa and Latin America women also often work in informal jobs, for example in markets or as domestic help.
Even before the outbreak of the corona virus, women and girls were doing 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day. The United Nations estimates that in 2021 an additional 47 million women worldwide will find themselves in extreme poverty and will have to get by on less than $ 1.90 a day.
According to a calculation by the World Economic Forum (WEF), due to the loss of women in the pandemic, it will now take a generation longer to close the global gender gap, which measures the differences in the economic, social and political participation of women and men. In theory, it will now take 135.6 years instead of 99.5 years to close the gender gap.
“Women cushion the social impact of the pandemic and fall by the wayside,” said Dworack. A recovery from Covid-19 is “impossible without the women recovering”. It is important to “shape the economy after the pandemic in a way that is gender and climate fair and social inequality is to be reduced overall”. Oxfam calls on governments to strengthen public education, health care and social security systems.