How Women are Getting Squeezed by the Pandemic

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The New York Times

Francesca Donner | 20 May 2020

The coronavirus has worsened existing social and economic inequalities, especially for women.

While both women and men are suffering the economic fallout of the virus across the world, it is women — already more likely to be in poverty than men, already more likely to be earning a smaller paycheck, already with less savings, already more likely to be in precarious jobs — who are being disproportionately squeezed.

Add to that, the next-to-invisible but overwhelming burden of unpaid labor, the bulk of which is shouldered by women in every country in the world.

The virus has exposed gender fault lines in myriad ways. And it raises questions: What do we know so far? What will we learn from it? How will things look on the other side?

I asked Nahla Valji, the senior gender adviser to the secretary general of the United Nations, and Alisha Haridasani Gupta, gender reporter for In Her Words, to unpack these issues with me.

You can listen to our discussion here, or read the edited excerpts below.

Francesca Donner: We know that economies the world over have been ravaged. What does this mean for women in particular?

Nahla Valji: Crises amplify existing inequalities, and so across the world women are being affected more severely by the socioeconomic impacts of this pandemic. This is because in every country women earn less, they save less, they’re more likely to be in precarious jobs with little security or protections if they do work, or in the informal sector, with no protections at all. And that means that they have less buffer to economic shocks, such as the ones we are experiencing.