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News > United Kingdom

Coronavirus Can Set Back 50 Years of Gender Equality Progress

  • A woman holds up a sign that says,

    A woman holds up a sign that says, " Beware, Sexism kills", Bogota, Colombia, May 28, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 29 May 2020

Mothers are 47 percent more likely to have lost their jobs permanently or to have quit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put at risk decades of progress in gender equality as a result of women taking on the brunt of extra childcare, more housework, greater job losses, and virtually no female representation or voice in the government, experts alerted.


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"The coronavirus' consequences on gender equality can set back 50 years of progress," the Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smet said on the eve of Equal Pay Act's 50th anniversary.

Mothers are 47 percent more likely to have lost their jobs permanently or to have quit, a study revealed.

According to the Institutes of Fiscal Studies and Education at University College London, two of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 are the hospitality industry and commerce, employed mainly by women.

"Some pregnant health care workers have been forced to work during the crisis, while others have been fired," Pregnant Then Screwed founder Joeli Brearle said.

The company Refuge, which runs the national domestic abuse helpline in the U.K., reports an increase in visits to the site.

Most users who responded to a Refuge survey in April said violence had increased under confinement.

When asked about the gender balance of the team dealing with the U.K. pandemic crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "I am not prepared to comment on this."

The Select Committee on Women and Equality Chair Caroline Nokes suggested that the figure should be 50 percent.

"The gender gap caused by the pandemic is real. Governments around the globe are still on time to stop it," Nokes said.​​​​​​​

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