Covid-19 Is Pushing Women Out of Work. Just Look at Italy.

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from Wall Street Journal

Margherita Stancati | 21 December 2020

ROME—Margherita Marino was a successful family lawyer in Naples, running a small but thriving practice, until the pandemic struck. Now she spends nearly all her time taking care of her two children, who have mostly been at home since March due to prolonged school closures.

“Sometimes I tell myself: I am a supermom looking after my children. Other times I’m like: what am I doing?” said Ms. Marino, 43, who worries her career won’t recover. “It’s frustrating.”

The economic shock from the pandemic has hit women harder than men across much of the Western world. Many of the lost jobs have been in service sectors with large female workforces, such as retail, restaurants and hospitality. Women have also had to shoulder the bulk of child care during school closures, forcing many working moms to stay home.

The labor-market consequences could outlast the pandemic, hurting many women’s long-term economic prospects and worsening gender inequality, economists warn.

A United Nations study found that job losses between the end of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020 disproportionately hurt women. In 55 high-and-middle-income countries, around 29.4 million women over the age of 25 lost or left their jobs—slightly more than men, far more of whom were in the workforce to begin with.