It is an entire year since lives have been disrupted worldwide due to COVID-19. School closures continue to impact more than 990 million students. UNESCO estimated that by the end of January, on average, schools had been closed or partially closed for 5.5 months (22 weeks). As children stay home to learn remotely, one thing is becoming clear: the brunt not only of domestic responsibilities but also of the additional home-schooling responsibilities has fallen on women rather than men. Gender equality is under threat.
Today, marks International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate great progress in advancing women’s rights over the last century. However, new global data from UN Women suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic could roll back 25 years of gender equality. With schools and day-care centres closed, women are spending increasing amounts of time in unpaid work such as taking care of their children, helping them with their schoolwork, cooking, cleaning, and other household tasks. All while trying to hold down a job.
We are now starting to talk about a care crisis affecting women and a real risk of roles reverting back to 1950s gender stereotypes. Before the pandemic, women were doing three hours of unpaid work compared to one hour by men. The pandemic has dramatically increased the burden and cemented these gender divisions along the way. Women are now delivering at least six hours compared to one hour of unpaid work undertaken by men.Continue reading