Women lost more than 54 million jobs in 2019, 2020

A nurse administers a vaccine on a patient at Nairobi Bus Station terminal on September 17, 2021. A UN agency report indicates that despite making  70 per cent of healthcare workers, globally, women only hold 24 per cent of seats on Covid-19 taskforces, globally. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Beyond Covid-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice study shows a 4.2 per cent decline in women’s employment compared to men’s 3.0 per cent.
  • Plan stresses on a post-Covid-19 economy with a care-led recovery that would prioritise investments to create jobs and increase support for unpaid caregivers.

Women lost more than 54 million jobs globally between 2019 and 2020, the latest UN Women report shows.

The Beyond Covid-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice study also shows a 4.2 per cent decline in women’s employment compared to men’s 3.0 per cent.

The report further shows that one in five women, across 45 countries, reported losing their job during the pandemic. In 2021, men's employment, globally, is projected to recover to 2019 levels, but there will still be fewer women employed.

Informal workers experienced a sharp drop in earnings, with women losing a greater share of their pre-pandemic earnings.

The UN Women has thus, launched the Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice to ensure gender equity post Covid-19 pandemic period.

The plan stresses on a post-Covid-19 economy with a care-led recovery that would prioritise investments to create jobs and increase support for unpaid caregivers.

The report also recommends promoting women’s leadership across institutional spaces.

Healthcare workers

Despite having been on the frontline of the Covid-19 response, making up 70 per cent of healthcare workers, globally, women hold only 24 per cent of seats on Covid-19 taskforces that have coordinated the policy response around the world. It also calls for increased funding for women’s organisations.

Executive Director a.i. of UN Women Pramila Patten, noted there is a need for a new social contract that delivers sustainability and social justice for all.

"We have a generational opportunity to break the vicious cycle of insecurity, environmental destruction and exclusionary politics and shape a better, more gender-equal and sustainable world," she said.

The feminist plan is also pushing for gender-just transitions for a sustainable future to create synergies between greater gender equality and also ensure the ongoing gender gap in vaccine access in bridged.

The plan has been a year-long process, in which more than 100 experts from the United Nations, civil society, and research institutes were convened to discuss the key challenges posed by the pandemic to gender equality, and concrete proposals on how to overcome them.

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