Gender gap in the Mediterranean during the Covid-19 pandemic
The goal of the e-book "Gender gap in the Mediterranean during the Covid-19 pandemic" is to analyze the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the region. A correct understanding of the phenomenon is in fact the best prerequisite for the elaboration of a more targeted design of policies and to identify, consequently, strategic measures which will allow an effective collective response to the situation determined by the pandemic.
Dr. Katarzyna Sidło contributed to this e-book with a chapter "Women’s economic empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Difficult situation made worse" (pp. 13-16).
The impact of crises is never gender-neutral, and COVID-19 is no exception. While men have a higher mortality rate, women and girls are particularly harmed by the resulting economic and social consequences. According to research by the UN Women and the UNDP, the impact on women and girls is causing them to lose their livelihoods faster than men, considering the greater economic exposure of the sectors in which they are involved. By 2021, the UN estimates that some 435 million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 a day, including 47 million pushed into poverty due to COVID-19.
Emerging data suggest that women’s economic and productive lives will be disproportionately affected and in a different way from those of men. Globally, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs, and are more likely to be employed in the informal economy. Women have less access to social protection and represent the majority of single-parent households. Their ability to absorb economic shocks is therefore lower than that of men. Data released by the United Nations on the economic consequences of COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia highlight the different gender gap impact on the self-employed. While men’s employment is more likely to be reduced in terms of hours (54% of men versus 50% of women), women are more likely to suffer the economic impact of the pandemic in terms of employment, 25% of women versus 21% of men.
In many countries, the first round of layoffs has been particularly acute in the service sector, including retail, hospitality and tourism, where women are over-represented. Some of the sectors most affected by the pandemic are feminized sectors characterized by low wages and poor working conditions, including a lack of basic worker protection such as paid sick leave and family leave. The hospitality and food service sectors, where women are over-represented, for example, have been devastated by job losses. While the need for care and cleaning services has increased, quarantine measures have made it more difficult to maintain pre-pandemic work patterns, resulting in experiencing a loss of income and employment.
This e-book has been published by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament.