What you need to know:
- Data from the World Development Report, 2022, reveal unequal impact of the Covid-19 crisis, with 11 percentage gap in job losses between women and men.
- In 2021, the Global Gender Gap Report had shown that economic participation was the second-largest gender gap, with women’s under-representation in the job market being one of the biggest sources of inequality.
More women than men lost their jobs at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, resulting in widening gender gap and increasing inequality within and across countries.
The World Development Report, 2022, by the World Bank showed that 42 per cent of women lost their jobs. This was higher than the 31 per cent for men.
The losses were due to public health measures imposed to curb the virus, including lockdown and social distancing in sectors where most women worked.
In 2021, the Global Gender Gap Report had shown that economic participation was the second-largest gender gap, with women’s under-representation in the job market being one of the biggest sources of inequality.
The gender gap report used four key dimensions—economic participation, educational attainment, and health and political empowerment. It ranked Kenya 95th out of 156 countries.
Lifting of Covid-19 measures did little to reduce the initial disparities in job losses.
“By September 2020, men had recovered 49 per cent of their initial employment losses, compared with 30 per cent of women,” the latest World Development Report says.
Women were amongst the groups that bore the brunt of job losses. The others were younger workers, urban workers and those with lower levels of formal education. Their recovery was slower than that of their counterparts as they were unable to significantly reverse the losses.
Women-led businesses also experienced larger declines in sales revenue than male-led businesses during the same period.
With patterns indicating the crisis had more impact on disadvantaged groups in both emerging and advanced economies, the data showed the pandemic had increased global poverty.
Moreover, the pandemic emphasised the importance of strengthening financial resilience, more so for small businesses and vulnerable groups, who typically have meagre cash buffers, yet are over-represented in sectors that suffered the most.
“Access to financial services is essential for resilience and economic recovery. Digital payments, savings, credit, and insurance allow businesses and individuals to manage risk, smooth expenses, and invest,” the report said.