A committee of MP’s has found that has found that the economic impact of coronavirus has affected men and women differently.

This is because of existing gendered economic inequalities, the over-representation of women in certain types of work and the actions the Government has taken.

The Women and Equalities Committee made 20 recommendations including making it easier for staff to get flexible working arrangements and recommended that government needs to “start actively analysing and assessing the equality impact of every policy”.

Committee Chair Caroline Nokes said:

“As the pandemic struck, the Government had to act quickly to protect jobs and adapt welfare benefits.

“These have provided a vital safety net for millions of people. But it overlooked the labour market and caring inequalities faced by women.

“These are not a mystery, they are specific and well understood. And yet the Government has repeatedly failed to consider them.

“This passive approach to gender equality is not enough. And for many women it has made existing equality problems worse: in the support to self-employed people, to pregnant women and new mothers, to the professional childcare sector, and for women claiming benefits. And it risks doing the same in its plans for economic recovery.

“We heard evidence from a wide range of organisations, including Maternity Action, the National Hair and Beauty Federation, the TUC, the Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years, the single parents campaign group Gingerbread, the Young Women’s Trust and the Women’s Budget Group. And written evidence from many more.

“The message from our evidence is clear: Government policies have repeatedly skewed towards men—and it keeps happening.

“We need to see more than good intentions and hoping for the best. The Government must start actively analysing and assessing the equality impact of every policy, or it risks turning the clock back.

“Our report sets out a package of twenty recommendations for change and a timescale. Taken together, these will go a long way towards tackling the problems and creating the more equal future that so many women—and men—want to see.

“The Government should seize this opportunity.”


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