At UnLtd, we are reflecting on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women in work. Dishearteningly, we know that the effects of lockdown measures on women in work will have a lasting impact on the gender pay gap and female employment rate. That also means social entrepreneurs focusing on improving access to employment for women will be even more needed for an inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
In the first lockdown in the UK, women took on two-thirds more childcare duties than men, according to the Office of National Statistics. At the same time, the Institute for Fiscal Studies is reporting that mothers are 47% more likely than fathers to have lost or quit their job since the lockdown began. Although data on the impact of COVID-19 is still emerging, it is clear that the pandemic has exacerbated existing systemic barriers to work faced by women.
Supporting women to navigate society's gender-specific expectations, while finding a path to sustainable employment is the goal of many of our social entrepreneurs.
Some are helping women to re-enter the workforce after having children; some are improving representation of women in male-dominated sectors; others are doing both at the same time.
According to recommendations from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, these social ventures exemplify the type of initiatives the Government needs to invest in if it is to ensure that women do not "lose out in the recovery" from the pandemic.
Often leading with lived experience of the systemic barriers women face, these social entrepreneurs are shaping the future by helping to transform female representation and success in the workforce. With the data suggesting COVID-19 is turning back the clock on gender equality, it is vital that we recognise the ventures that are challenging the status quo and taking us forwards.
Please take some time to be inspired by their work and consider supporting them.
Fatou Gassama, Holistic Support
Angela Steele, Opportunities with Experience
Jasmin Hassan Bakhre, Women with Wings
Siobhan Harper-Nunes, Shakti Women
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