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The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality

Titan Alon (), Matthias Doepke, Jane Olmstead-Rumsey () and Michele Tertilt ()

CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series from University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany

Abstract: The economic downturn caused by the current COVID-19 outbreak has substantial implications for gender equality, both during the downturn and the subsequent recovery. Compared to ``regular'' recessions, which affect men's employment more severely than women's employment, the employment drop related to social distancing measures has a large impact on sectors with high female employment shares. In addition, closures of schools and daycare centers have massively increased child care needs, which has a particularly large impact on working mothers. The effects of the crisis on working mothers are likely to be persistent, due to high returns to experience in the labor market. Beyond the immediate crisis, there are opposing forces which may ultimately promote gender equality in the labor market. First, businesses are rapidly adopting flexible work arrangements, which are likely to persist. Second, there are also many fathers who now have to take primary responsibility for child care, which may erode social norms that currently lead to a lopsided distribution of the division of labor in house work and child care.

Keywords: Covid-19; Division of Labor; Business Cycle; Gender Equality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D13 J16 O10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 40
Date: 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-gen, nep-hme and nep-lab
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