All the money women around the world lost last year due to pandemic-related job losses and childcare obligations is more than the combined value of the economies of 98 countries. That’s a new estimate from the global charity Oxfam, which projects that women around the world lost at least $ 800 billion in income last year.
The projections are new measures of an increasingly familiar aspect of the pandemic: Women have suffered large toll from its economic fallout in the US and other corners of the world. “For women in every country on every continent, in addition to the loss of income, unpaid care work has skyrocketed,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International. “As care needs skyrocketed during the pandemic, women, those who cushion the impacts of our societies, have stepped in to fill the void, an expectation so often imposed by sexist social norms.” *** Honduras, Iceland, Cyprus and Senegal are among the countries included in the list of 98 countries with a combined gross dometic product equivalent of approximately $ 800 billion, according to Oxfam researchers. *** Oxfam arrived at its projections by analyzing analysis by the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO). 64 million women lost their jobs worldwide last year, the UN agency determined. While 80 million men lost their jobs last year, women had a 5% job loss rate compared to men, who experienced a 3.9% job loss rate, the ILO said. Oxfam calculated its projection using ILO data on monthly earnings by sex in 50 countries and multiplied the figure by the number of women who worked in 2019 versus 2020. Oxfam acknowledges that the projection of $ 800 billion is only an estimate, but the damage is real. “This conservative estimate does not even include the wages lost by the millions of women working in the informal economy – domestic workers, market vendors and garment workers – who have been sent home or whose hours and wages have been drastically reduced.” Bucher said. The uneven dynamics of job loss has developed in the United States, where some have described it as a “transfer of it.” Many women worked in sectors such as hospitality, tourism and the food industry, all of which were hit hard when governments enacted lockdown orders and consumers stopped traveling and dining out. At the same time, schools became remote last spring and the burden of care fell disproportionately on women, pushing many mothers to quit their jobs or reduce their working hours. Despite signs of an economic rebound, women have lost a lot of ground. By February, women had 5.1 million fewer jobs than in February 2020. Men had 4.4 million fewer jobs, according to the Women’s Policy Research Institute. The March employment report shows that women ** over the age of 20 *** had an unemployment rate of 5.7% in March, compared to the unemployment rate of 5.8% for older men ** of 20 ***. Outside of the United States, the outlook is not much more rosy. Women in 18 of the 28 advanced economy countries lost most of their jobs and are being rehired at a slower rate than men, according to a recent study. “As we move from emergency measures to long-term recovery, governments around the world must seize this opportunity to build more equal and inclusive economies for all,” said Bucher. In the US, President Joe Biden is pushing a $ 1.8 trillion “American Families Plan” that proposes $ 225 billion to make child care more affordable. The outcome of the plan is uncertain, but there is broad support from Republican and Democratic voters for subsidized child care, according to a recent poll.