How COVID-19 affected women entrepreneurship?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The COVID-19 crisis is a gender crisis. Women are the main victims of the social and economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. This situation reflects the fact that women are over-represented in sectors that have been most affected by the crisis, such as childcare, education or tourism.

As women tend to have underpaid jobs, with less access to social protection, they benefit less from the safety nets that some countries are setting up. Women are also over-represented among informal workers, who work in precarious conditions and for whom isolation is not possible, such as domestic workers. Women are also at the forefront of the fight against the virus. Globally, 88% of health workers and 69% of health workers are women, with a much higher risk of getting sick.

The pandemic has also made evident the unfair social organization of care systems. Women take the lion’s share of unpaid care work. Now this time frame will greatly increase with the confinement of the elderly, the closure of schools and the need to care for an increasing number of sick family members. In Italy, for 3 out of 4 mothers interviewed by Save The Children in the report Le equilibriste: maternity in Italy in 2020, the domestic workload has increased. As the economy begins to reopen, but with education systems semi paralyzed, many mothers have to give up their jobs, especially those that cannot be done remotely, with a disastrous impact on their access to work around the world.

So how to avoid a reverse that could be as disastrous as it is lasting? More redistributive public policies must intervene. From universal access to health care, to education and social protection, we must take the opportunity for greater solidarity. It also means recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and housework, which requires investment in quality public services such as daycare, health centers and retirement homes.

All these measures require a massive investment of resources. Factors such as the quality of infrastructure, a healthy and skilled workforce, market access and political stability matter much more when it comes to attracting investment. The economic phase that is about to open could really be an opportunity to invest the incoming resources in order to heal chronic inequalities. Inequalities of gender, origin, age that in Italy are added to a problem of geographical disparity, and that the COVID-19 has fully highlighted.

This crisis is affecting all, but not in the same way. Among the worst losers are women and girls living in poverty and those who fall into poverty with the pandemic.

(Resources: Ingenere and Swissinfo)