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Exploring the Reasons for Labour Market Gender Inequality a Year into the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the UK Cohort Studies

Bozena Wielgoszewska, Alex Bryson, Monica Costa-Dias, Francesca Foliano, Heather Joshi and David Wilkinson
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Bozena Wielgoszewska: University College London, England
Monica Costa-Dias: University of Bristol and Institute for Fiscal Studies, England
Francesca Foliano: University College London, England
Heather Joshi: University College London, England
David Wilkinson: University College London, England

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Monica Costa Dias

No 21-23, DoQSS Working Papers from Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unexpected disruptions to Western countries which affected women more adversely than men. Previous studies suggest that these gender differences are attributable to two main causes: women being over-represented in the most affected sectors of the economy and women, especially mothers, taking a bigger share of housework and childcare responsibilities following school closures. Using the data from four British nationally representative cohort studies, we test these two propositions. Our findings confirm that the adverse labour market effects of the covid-19 pandemic were still experienced by women a year into the covid-19 pandemic and that these effects were the most severe for women who lived with a partner and children. We show that adjusting for pre-pandemic job characteristics substantially attenuates the gaps, suggesting that women were over-represented in jobs disproportionately affected by covid-19 pandemic. However, the remaining gaps are not further attenuated by adjusting for the partner’s job characteristics or the number and age of children in the household, suggesting that the adversities experienced by women were not driven by their relative labour market position, as compared to their partners. The residual gender differences observed in the rates of active, paid work and furlough for those who live with partner and children point to the importance of unobserved factors such as social norms, preferences, or discrimination. These effects may be long lasting and jeopardise women’s longer-term position through the loss of experience, leading to reinforcement of gender inequalities or even reversal of the progress towards gender equality.

Keywords: Covid-19; Pandemic; Gender; Employment; Furlough (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-08-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-gen, nep-isf and nep-lab
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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