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Week 9: The Pandemic’s Impact

May 11, 2021

Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s blog!

Last week, I talked about what the gender wage gap was like before the pandemic happened. (if you haven’t read last week’s blog, I recommend you do so now before reading this week’s blog!) This week I will continue to discuss this topic, but instead, I will focus on how the gender wage gap has changed because of COVID-19.

As mentioned last week, the gender wage gap has been gradually narrowing throughout time as society progresses. However, the pandemic has halted this process, slowing it down and even backtracking it.

In past recessions, men were more affected than women. While more women work in the service industry, more men are employed in sectors that have a higher chance of being affected by cyclical factors of the economy (for example, manufacturing and construction). As women are less affected by cyclical downturns, their employment acted as insurance for the family in case the husband becomes unemployed. However, this is not the case during this recession. Unlike previous scenarios, this recession is caused by the pandemic, not cyclical fluctuations.

As shown in the bar graph above, in the previous years before 2020, the difference between the rise in women’s and men’s unemployment was usually negative, meaning there was a bigger rise in men’s unemployment during these years. But in 2020, the rise in women’s unemployment was significantly larger than men’s. Because of the lockdown and the spread of COVID, people with jobs that require person-to-person contact, for example, teachers or waiters, are more likely to lose their jobs. In contrast to previous recessions, sectors with high concentrations of women are the most affected.

In addition, many women have been voluntarily leaving their work to take care of their children due to the closing of child care centers. Some also opt for a lower-paying job that provides more flexibility to maintain an income. According to CBS News, nearly 3 million women have already dropped out of the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic. This drastic change will only worsen the gender wage gap as the labor supply is directly correlated with wage (which I will get into in my research paper).

This is just a brief preview of what I am working on in my research paper right now, and I am really excited to show everyone more of my findings. Thank you for tuning in this week and I will hopefully be back with more interesting discoveries next week!

One Reply to “Week 9: The Pandemic’s Impact”

  1. Adelia Z. says:

    Hi Mimi! This was really interesting for me to read over as I had never considered how a pandemic might vary from a typical recession in how it impacts the gender wage gap. In my research, I came across quite a few papers about how the pandemic has impacted different groups of government aid recipients. Since female headed households are more likely to receive/require government aid than others, I wonder if this might constitute another way that women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

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