South Africa: The 'She-Cession' - Covid-19 Economy KO's Women in South Africa

analysis

The average gender wage gap - the difference between what men and women earn - grew by 46% through the lockdown, researchers find

The NIDS-CRAM survey out this week reveals how the fallout of the pandemic recession has impacted women's employment, household income and wellbeing. The pattern is global where the term "she-cesssion" is used to describe the toll taken on women by economies where growth has fallen to war-time-like lows and where recessions impact women acutely.

It's no different in South Africa as two surveys out this week show.

"Of the estimated three million fewer people employed in April relative to February 2020, two million were women," write Robert Hill and Tim Köhler in the NIDS-CRAM survey. South Africa, with a population of nearly 60 million people, has almost equal numbers of men and women; and with the various policy levers used to bring women into the world of work in the democratic era, they have entered the labour market. But these gains could now be whittled away.

The survey reveals that, like in many countries around the world, women had to scale down their working hours to take care of children as schools and ECD centres...

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