As we continue to suffer the effects of the pandemic and look to the future, the economic devastation has undoubtedly been profound. The unemployment rate is now at 5%. There is speculation that unemployment will rise once furlough ends later in the year.
Many commentators have spoken about the Shecession and the impact it has had on women across the board. The unemployment rate stands at 17% compared to 13% for men. Women’s earnings have been reduced by 12.9% and it it predicted that the pandemic will set women back to 2017 levels.
Whilst this phenomenon has impact women at all stages , what’s not often discussed is why the pandemic is bad news for working mothers.
Women traditionally shoulder the majority of childcare and other household work. The pandemic has exascerbated this.Nurseries and schools closing meant women were shouldering the majority of childcare and home schooling.
The impact has been felt by women across the spectrum. High profile women like MP Stella Creasy have talked about having to juggle work alongside childcare responsibilities. This meant that many women were forced to cut their hours or days. Some women have even had to leave their jobs as a result. Indeed it was found that working mothers are more likely to have left their jobs during the first lockdown that fathers. Mothers were more likely to spend working hours caring for children alongside their ‘day job’.
Apart from the obvious impact on finances and career, the pandemic has also impacted the mental health of working mothers. Nine out of ten women surveyed said their mental health had been impacted. Anxiety and stress about possible redundancy and juggling childcare is now a constant for many women.
Many have called on the goverment and business to address these inequalities and to ensure working mothers don’t continue to lose out. Changes in flexible working, parental leave and early years education would help alleviate these issues. These changes would help working mothers beyond the pandemic and into the future.
Now it’s over to you. Are you a working mother? Have you been impacted by the pandemic? Drop us a comment below.