With the economic recovery failing women, now is the time to act on gender equality

The COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely impacted the economic livelihoods of women around the world. More women are unemployed today than at any time since the pandemic began.

Unemployment spiked for men and women in 2020, but women's unemployment has failed to bounce back.
If there were 100 unemployed women in 2019, there were 112 unemployed women in 2020, and 115 unemployed women in 2021.

Why? One reason is that women are more likely to work in a sector disrupted by pandemic-related disruptions and lockdowns.

53% of women work in industries most disrupted by Covid-19, compared to 44% of men.

Informal workers, many of whom are women, have also been some of the hardest hit. And they are likely to be excluded from income support schemes set up in response to the pandemic.

Layoffs and lockdowns have severely affected the world's working population, especially informal workers who have been some of the hardest hit.

As we look to build a more resilient and inclusive post-pandemic future, we must also acknowledge—and address—the unique burdens women face.

Before the pandemic, 1 in 4 women spent 9+ hours on childcare daily, but today, it's 1 in 3.
Lockdowns have reduced access to contraceptives, leaving 12 million women without protection, resulting in 1.4 million unintended pregnancies.

While women may be on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19 , they’ve been excluded from the critical decision-making roles that are directing how countries respond to the pandemic.

70% of healthcare workers are women, including 90% of nurses and 93% of midwives, but only 25% of healthcare leadership roles are filled by women.

Here is what we can achieve if the right policies are in place.

Providing childcare to women could add $3 trillion to the global economy each year.
Cash transfer programs can help lift up to 100 million women out of extreme poverty.

And to accelerate progress toward gender equality, we must put women at the center of inclusive economic policies, through...

Cash: First, governments must ensure that money, stimulus efforts, and social protection schemes get directly into the hands of women.
Data: Second, countries must close gender data gaps and strengthen monitoring, evaluation, and data systems to support the design of more effective public policy.
Care: Third, governments must invest in the care economy and reduce the burden of unpaid care work to strengthen women's labor force participation and transform economies.
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