EIGE: Economic Hardship and Gender

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will very likely result in a recession in the EU. Those in precarious employment are particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, with many contracts having been terminated or frozen soon after the virus reached Europe. The International Labour Organization has estimated that almost 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to Covid-19, with up to 35 million additional people facing working poverty.

Women are more likely to be in temporary, part-time and precarious employment than men. These jobs often come with lower pay, weaker legal protection and difficulties accessing social protection. Levels of precarious work are particularly high among young women, women with low qualifications and migrant women.

EIGE’s data shows that about a quarter (26.5 %) of women employees across the EU are in a precarious job, compared to 15.1 % of men.

Another group of people who are highly vulnerable are domestic workers, the majority of whom are women migrants. In many EU Member States, migrant domestic workers are employed as undeclared workers in the informal economy. They are also highly dependent on the employer and may have no or little knowledge of their rights and how to seek support.

What policymakers need to know

  • Fiscal measures adopted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis had a disproportionately negative impact on women. This should be avoided in Covid-19 recovery measures.
  • The different impact the pandemic has had on women and men should be assessed. This will enable the design of gender-fair bailouts, subsidies and other economic recovery measures.
  • Part-time, flexible and other forms of non-standard employment should have an adequate minimum wage and be eligible for social security.


Source: European Institute for Gender Equality

Picture: Gordon Johnson/ “Pixabay”

Original publication may be found here

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