Gender is not typically included in analyses of the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic, making it difficult to recognize and understand the different consequences that COVID-19 has had on men and women. Low-wage women who did not lose their jobs were mainly engaged in front-line occupations, such as healthcare and grocery workers. As it becomes more difficult to access day care, women are more likely to be left out of the labor market or to leave it; an analysis revealed that maternal participation rates in the labor force are 3 percentage points lower in deserts than in areas with an adequate supply of day care. Women, who made up the vast majority of health workers, were on the front lines caring for patients and represented 72% of all COVID-19 cases among health professionals in the region.
These losses in child care assistance have had a significant impact on the paid and unpaid work of fathers, especially mothers. The report also warns that the incorporation of a gender approach in the response to the pandemic has been insufficient. Even when women make the “right choices”, finish their studies and seek employment in high-wage industries and occupations, they receive lower compensation than men, earning 92 cents on the dollar, according to a recent analysis. Since these conditions have existed for a long time, the solutions that are put in place should not focus exclusively on short-term recovery from COVID-19, but should also introduce lasting changes that aim to close the wage gap, improve working conditions and family leave options, and better align school and daycare systems with the needs of working parents so that mothers who want to work can do so.
COVID-19 has particularly affected people in terms of their ability to pay rent, increasing housing insecurity. The study points to several investigations that have shown that women who work in the health sector are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, insomnia or exhaustion than their male counterparts. In the past two years, more than 365,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported among pregnant women in the region, and more than 3,000 of them have died. The global health crisis caused by COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on people's lives around the world.
However, its effects have been felt disproportionately by women's rights in Indianapolis. Women are more likely to be excluded from the labor market due to lack of access to daycare; they are also more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression due to their roles as healthcare workers; they receive lower compensation than men for similar work; and they are more likely to experience housing insecurity due to their inability to pay rent. In order to address these issues, it is essential that we take a gender approach when responding to this pandemic. We must introduce lasting changes that aim to close the wage gap, improve working conditions and family leave options, and better align school and daycare systems with the needs of working parents so that mothers who want to work can do so. Only then can we ensure that women's rights are protected during this difficult time.