COVID-19 cuts jobs in female-dominated sectors.
According to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Index of working women, they were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where the unemployment rate rose last year.
The PwC report says that jobs in female-dominated sectors, such as marketing and communications, are more likely to be lost than positions in finance held by men.
Meanwhile, women spend an average of 7.7 hours a week more than men on unpaid child-care work – a “second shift” that is almost equivalent to full-time work and can lead some women to decide to quit.
“Although the number of jobs will return to the previous level when the economy recovers, it is not a fact that it will be the same jobs,”said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.
“Unless measures are taken directly to address the unequal burden of child care and to allow more women to find employment in developing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer working hours per week, less skilled and less paid jobs.”
The report, which examined 33 countries in the Rich Countries club of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says progress towards gender equality in work will not start until 2022.
The pace of progress needs to double if rich countries plan to make up for the losses by 2030, the report says. It also calls on governments and businesses to improve women’s access to emerging sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.
Laura Hinton, HR Manager at PwC, said that “addressing the gender pay gap is of paramount importance, as well as developing concrete action plans as businesses focus on improving their position.”