The Government is still not listening to women, not acknowledging the disproportionate impact Covid is having on them, and not doing anything about it.
Chris Wallace at the 50/50 Foundation, University of Canberra in The Conversation says women are definitely worse off.
The pandemic’s gendered impact has been especially stark. Under pressure, dynamics many people thought were in deep retreat visibly sprang back into action.
More likely to occupy low-paid, precarious jobs than men, women suffered first and disproportionately from pandemic job losses.
- Women are doing most of the home-schooling as well as most of the domestic work
- For a short time, childcare was made free then snatched away
- Childcare workers, the vast majority of whom are women, lost jobs when childcare centres were left with only the children of emergency workers. (See here for what stage 4 lockdown means for parents and the sector in Melbourne. )
- Pre-Covid many more women were in casual work than men and these jobs too were the first to go
- If proposed Federal Government tax cuts – costing ~ $120 billion – for middle to high-income workers go ahead – and it appears Labor will support them – then men will receive 64 cents in every the dollar of the benefit
- Jobs in construction were largely protected and job creation measures like HomeBuilder will benefit builders and tradespeople, the vast majority of whom are men
- The health workforce is predominantly female – 2.5 women for every one male – so it follows that more women than men will have contracted the virus at the front line.
- In aged care, the gender imbalance is even higher and workers more at risk from late access to PPE and work arrangements across more than one facility
- The cases of men violently assaulting women have risen under lockdown and by August, 34 women and 38 children had been murdered by current or former partners
- 8.1% of women lost their jobs between March and April compared with 6.2% of men because feminised jobs in retail and hospitality largely disappeared
- Women were more likely to reduce their hours of work in order to care for children
- These impacts also mean superannuation contributions are lower and promotion to more senior positions is less likely
So, what’s going on here?
Wallace posits the notion that this is the good, old-fashioned, man-as-breadwinner syndrome or maybe it just reflects the gender imbalance in Federal Cabinet – 73.2% male – that means women are just not being heard.
Of course they won’t be heard until representation at every level of government is gender-equal.