Job recovery more difficult for women after shutdown, Laurier Economics professor finds

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought newfound economic challenges and adjustments to all Canadians, but especially women.  

Only recently has there been early research on how particular groups and communities have been impacted by the pandemic and the economic implications that have come with it.  been early research on how particular groups and communities have been impacted by the pandemic and the economic implications that have come with it.  

In the past few months, national economists have been analyzing the unique implications of the pandemic facing women, discovering a phenomenon that the media has dubbed a “she-seccion” in Canada.  

In a January report by Statistics Canada, women were found to make up 60 per cent of those determined to be economically struggling in Canada. in Canada.  

The pandemic has only intensified the economic barriers that are presented to women throughout Canada. Research has suggested that in the long term, the pandemic is expected to take a higher toll on women’s income than men’s.  

Professor Tammy Schirle, Wilfrid Laurier University’s  Canadian labour economist, has been an active researcher on the economic gender gap the nation is facing. has been an active researcher on the economic gender gap the nation is facing.  

Schirle gave insight on the topic of “women finding job recovery difficult after shutdown” in a segment for BNN Bloomberg.  

Schirle stresses the pandemic’s division of “bounce back for jobs in hospitality and service sectors that are more female-dominated than more male-dominated sectors.”  

According to Statistics Canada, since April, the employment rate has declined twice as much for Canadian women in the 25 to 54 age range compared to men., since April, the employment rate has declined twice as much for Canadian women in the 25 to 54 age range compared to men.   

There has been a growing awareness of this gap, and of the fact that an imminent “She- seccion” could pose an even greater threat to the economy’s already significant economic disproportion between men and women. disproportion between men and women.  

A July survey conducted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation has seen that 59 per cent of Canadians are concerned that women in Canada are still at higher risk of losing their jobs due to COVID-19. 

Industries with larger female employment include flight attendants, cooks, servers, and more within the hospitality and travel industry that have been substantially impacted by the pandemic.  impacted by the pandemic.  

As stores close or reduce hours, there have been cutbacks for retail workers, many of whom are also women.  

The most economically vulnerable by the recession are women who make up Canada’s minimum wage and part-time workers.  

Forty per cent of employed women work part-time. Part- time workers have lower chances of bouncing back from economic disruption. In the event of a second wave of an economic shutdown, it is part-time employees who will be vulnerable to losing their job security.  

While the spring shutdown created months of disruption to earnings, another potential shutdown will lead to devastating economic boundaries — many women’s lifetime earnings will never recover.Many women’s lifetime earnings will never recover. 

On top of a lack of job security, single parents have the responsibility of being the primary caregivers to families that are facing a lack of access to caregiving resources.  

In Canada, eighty per cent of single-parent households are led by women. School closures and household isolation has meant that even if these women can return to work, they will be unable without access to outside caregiving. As society moves towards at-home parenting in the pandemic, it will be more draining on single mothers to balance their personal and professional responsibilities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to new challenges in delivering support services for those who are struggling, such as food banks which can’t meet the increased demand, as well as the closures of public services including schools, community centers, and libraries.  

These are programs that are relied on by the most marginalized groups in society. Women with the greatest barriers to employment, including new Canadian women, First Nations, Métis, Inuit and racialized women, will lack the additional services needed to have the ability to find jobs.  

Canadian economists, including Professor Schirle, have presented the solution to the she-seccion will be in “implementing effective policy measures to support women during these unpredictable times.”  to the she-seccion will be in “implementing effective policy measures to support women during these unpredictable times.”  

Schirle notes that planning strategies that can create more flexible work options for women juggling homecare responsibilities, putting resources into having a safe and effective strategy for starting school in the fall and investing in particular emergency response benefits for the most marginalized groups in communities, will directly benefit these groups most effectively. 

This can be done with a greater level of government commitment as well as an acknowledgment of the importance of feminized and racialized labor in combating the present health crisis and preventing further economic and social fallout.  

As the pandemic has brought further isolation measures and more substantial gendered impacts, greater and more reliable access to support services will be essential moving into the fall months of 2020.

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