Evidence from Queen Mary has been cited in a new government report from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.
The report, Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the Gendered Economic Impact, highlights how existing gendered inequalities in the economy have been ignored and sometimes exacerbated by the pandemic policy response.
Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, evidence has shown that there was a particular and often disproportionate economic impact on individuals and groups who may already been vulnerable, marginalised or overlooked. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee launched its enquiry in March 2020 and received over 500 submissions of evidence.
The committee aimed to understand how the economic impact of the pandemic had impacted on men and women differently because of existing gendered economic inequalities or the over-representation of women in certain types of work, and also because of the actions of government.
According to the report, the government risks 'turning the clock back' on gender equality by overlooking the labour market and caring inequalities faced by women during the pandemic.
Evidence from Professor Sophie Harman and Dr Clare Wenham (London School of Economics and Political Science) formed one of the key recommendations of the report on improving data.
Professor Harman and Dr Wenham called for data to be disaggregated by sex and other protected characteristics. In their evidence submission they demonstrated that this facilitates reporting and analysis on how, for example, gender, ethnicity, disability, age and socio-economic status interact, and can compound disadvantage.
Professor Harman, Professor of International Politics at Queen Mary said: “The findings of this report will be all too familiar to millions of women across the UK who have shouldered the burden and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As our evidence suggests the risks of health emergencies to gender equality were well known before Covid-19 and action could have been taken at the outset of the government response to address this.
“The UK needs an independent tsar on gender & Covid-19 to drive forward the recommendations of the report and act now before gender inequality worsens further."
Professor Harman previously wrote about the disproportionate impact of lockdowns on women in the Independent in September 2020.
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