Covid-19 has dramatically reduced economic prospects for women, report says


Women’s economic prospects have suffered a major setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report from a social innovation group.

The document, based on testimonies from participants in programs supported by Rethink Ireland’s Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland) fund, indicates that the pandemic has had a marked impact on the jobs, incomes and responsibilities of women in the world. hearth.

Respondents said increased care responsibilities due to pandemic restrictions had limited their personal and professional development.

With childcare services hampered during closures, the women described the challenge of progressing in their studies while looking after their families.

The report cites a number of mothers who hoped to return to work only for the pandemic to derail their plans.

A single mother and a student said finding a job last year was ‘out of the question’ as childcare needs could not be met during the pandemic.

“Almost too late”

Many women found that most of the family responsibilities fell on them during this time, which resulted in increased mental health problems.

“I’ve been busy taking care of everyone and only think of myself when it’s almost too late,” said the respondent.

Created by Rethink Ireland, in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund, the Mná na hÉireann fund supports six charities and social enterprises aimed at improving women’s economic mobility. These are Dress for Success; A Cosan; Transgender Equality Network Ireland; Irish Refugee Council; Westmeath and Equal Ireland Community Development.

Many respondent employment programs were developed for a different professional landscape, when hospitality and retail were growth sectors, the report says.

Many of these projects have had to focus on sectors currently in demand, such as health and personal care services. The projects were also challenged in their willingness to help participants improve their digital literacy during the pandemic, especially for women in direct delivery who did not have access to the required technology.


The report recommends the introduction of targeted measures to help women retraining, while indicating that the government should also address the economic inequalities experienced by women living on the margins of society.

Rethink Ireland also calls for a diverse representation of women to be “present at all tables where decisions about social and economic policy are made”. Gender and equality budgeting should be integrated into all economic decisions, the report recommends.

Deirdre Mortell, chief executive of Rethink Ireland, said the pandemic had “exposed and deepened the economic and social inequalities” faced by women, especially those from minority groups and disadvantaged communities.

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the time has come for us as a society to reaffirm our commitment to promoting the economic mobility of women as part of broader equality agendas,” he said. she adds.

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