Equal Pay Day: COVID-19 is having a “devastating” impact on gender equality

COVID-19, coronavirus, virus

COVID-19 is having a “devastating” impact on gender equality, according to a new report.

The report, published by The Fawcett Society, looks at the impact Coronavirus has had on gender equality. The report comes on Equal Pay Day – the day where women in the UK are effectively working for free for the rest of the year.

The UK’s full-time mean average gender pay gap this year is 11.5 per cent, down from 13.1 per cent in 2019. That means that Equal Pay Day has moved six days later in the year, compared to 14th November in 2019.

The Fawcett Society said the UK was at a “coronavirus crossroads” as large numbers of working women say they are worried about their job or promotion prospects due to the pandemic.

The report also suggests that women could experience a growing discrimination at work. Evidence suggests women are more likely to be furloughed and less likely to have stayed closely in touch with their workplace.

There are also fears that the childcare sector – a predominantly female-dominated industry – could collapse due a lack of need. Recent data suggests that one in six providers – and a quarter in deprived areas – won’t be viable by Christmas.

However, the report does show that there are ‘signs of hope’ – flexible working could become the norm, fathers providing a greater share in unpaid care and society valuing our carers and social care infastructure.

Speaking about the report, Sam Smethers, General Secretary of The Fawcett Society, said, “Throughout the last century, crises comparable to the pandemic have been forks in the path of history.”

“The coronavirus crisis puts us at a crossroads again and it is clear that this applies to the gender pay gap.”

“As the government begins to look towards rebuilding the economy, it must invest in our childcare and social care infrastructure, embed flexible working and improve paid leave for dads.”

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About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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