Wales’ leading gender equality charity, Chwarae Teg, has warned against complacency in the fight to achieve a fairer nation, as we look towards a recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
In its annual State of the Nation report, published today (8.2.21), Chwarae Teg outlines the progress made in Wales in terms of becoming a gender equal nation and explores the experiences of women in the economy, their representation and those at risk.
This year, figures show a positive drop in the gender pay gap from 14.5% to 11.6% in Wales, however this contrasts with worrying figures for female public appointments which have fallen from 64% to 43.1%, and a drop in female chair appointments from 56% to under 5%.
Overall the data set out in the report provides a very mixed picture, which is unable, at this stage, to predict the true impact of Covid-19 on gender equality.
October research by Chwarae Teg into the impact of Covid-19 on women has already highlighted the stark inequalities they have faced during the pandemic. Women are twice as likely as men to be key workers in Wales, more likely to have lost their jobs and have borne the brunt of home-schooling and caring responsibilities.
Data in the State of the Nation builds on this, underlining the sharp divide in other gender related areas. For instance, 26% of women state ‘looking after family and home’ as a reason for being economically inactive compared to just 6.5% of men; 40.1% of women work part-time compared to just 11.8% of men; and 86% of single parents are women, which are by far the households most likely to live in poverty.
There are also challenges exacerbated by intersectional factors, with women from ethnic minorities much more likely to be economically inactive than their white female counterparts.
This issue compounds the disadvantages faced by many women, and significantly hinders their ability to reach their full potential in the economy, to take a leading role in public life and to avoid risk.