Covid-19 and its economic toll on women

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According to the Social Innovation Organization report, women’s economic prospects have suffered a major impediment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The document is based on the testimony of members of a project supported by the Mná na hÉireann (Irish Women) Fund of Rethink Ireland, which stated that the pandemic had a significant impact on women’s work income and family responsibilities.

The Women said that increased care tasks due to pandemic restrictions limit their personal and professional development. With childcare provision hindered during lockdowns, women defined the challenge of continuing their education while caring for their families.

The report cited several mothers who wanted to return to work only, but the pandemic derailed their plans. A single mother and student said it was “impossible” to find a job last year because childcare needs could not be met during the pandemic.

Created by Rethink Ireland, the ‘Mná na hÉireann fund’ supports six charities and social enterprises geared towards enhancing women’s economic mobility in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The report stated that many employment programmes were established for a diverse job landscape when hospitality and retail were resilient sectors.

Many of these projects had to shift their focus to sectors that currently have demand, such as health and personal care services. These projects also face challenges in helping participants improve their digital literacy during the pandemic, especially for women who don’t have access to the required technology directly.

The report commends specific measures to help women receive retraining while stating that the government must also address the economic inequality experienced by women living on the margins of society.

Rethink Ireland also calls for a diverse representation of women to be “present at all tables where decisions regarding social and economic policy” are made. Gender and equality budgeting should be embedded in all economic decision making, the report recommends.

Deirdre Mortell, chief executive of Rethink Ireland, said the pandemic had “revealed and compounded the economic and social inequalities” faced by women, particularly those from minority groups and disadvantaged communities.

Source: The Irish Times

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