Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Covid-19 and inequality

enough, it is that untouched income that would usually have gone to those with low incomes working in the hospitality industry. Therefore, clearly the pandemic has caused a stark increase in socio- economic inequality.

It is an unfortunate truth of the pandemic that a disproportionate number of women were forced out of work due to lockdowns. This is due to the fact that women are more likely than men to work in service occupations, including domestic work, restaurant service, retail, tourism, and hospitality, that require face-to-face interactions and have been hard-hit by layoffs. The McKinsey report showing industries threatened most by Covid- 19, stated that women’s jobs were at 19% greater risk than men’s. While women account for 39% of the global workforce, they are over-represented in three of the four most threatened industries: accommodation and food services (54%); retail and wholesale trade (43%); and services such as arts, recreation, and public administration (46%). Because of the nature of these jobs, working from home was never a possibility for a number of women. Even in the case of frontline staff being overwhelmingly female, these heroes were tasked with exposing themselves to the virus daily in order to protect the lives of others. These dangerous conditions put those women at greater risk of illness. Another result of the pandemic is that women have had to take on a lot more responsibility regarding caregiving. School closures removed childcare provisions that allowed many mothers to pursue their respective careers. The additional childcare and housework also fell far more on mothers than fathers, on average. This exacerbates the theory that this has inhibited work and career progression for mothers, when progress in closing the gender wage gap had already stalled. The pandemic has effectively stalled the progression of women in the workforce, forcing mothers to focus more on childcare than looking for work.

A stark example of the socio-economic divide, the pandemic has had devastating effects on the gap between private education and government-funded education. Lockdown saw every school in the UK having to close, but the provisions for online learning from school to school differed drastically. Children from private or grammar schools were provided with adequate learning opportunities during the lockdowns through services such as teams or zoom. However, some state schools were forced to close completely as they did

not have the provisions nor resources to continue schooling online. It is also the case that some households did not have sufficient technology to facilitate two or more children going to school online at the same time. This is likely to have major macroeconomic consequences in the future. These


Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs