The Impact of Covid-19 on women in Wales

2nd June 2021

Since 23 March, lockdown regulations have restricted the movements of everyone in the UK to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The crisis has affected everyone in Wales in different ways.

Lockdown has deeply affected every aspect of women’s lives, including their health, employment, and caring responsibilities for children and other adults. Gender-blind policymaking and the sectoral impact of lockdown measures have meant that lockdown has affected women and men in a multitude of different ways.

The economic effects of lockdown are falling heavily on women. Women are more likely to be doing low-paid work on insecure contracts in shutdown sectors1 and are twice as likely to be key workers.2 Across the UK, women are spending double the amount of time as men on homeschooling.

In May and June 2020, Chwarae Teg invited women across Wales to complete a survey and detail their experiences under lockdown, as well as their needs and hopes for recovery. Over 1000 women responded to this survey. This report focusses on women’s experiences in the labour market under Covid.

There is no singular female experience during this ongoing pandemic. Employment status, caring responsibilities for children and adults, as well as factors such as ethnicity, disability, and age have been instrumental in shaping women’s diverse experiences under lockdown and into recovery.

Covid-19: Women, Work and Wales

More than 1,000 women from across Wales responded to our survey sharing their diverse experiences of the pandemic. You can read the findings of our latest research here.

8th Oct 2020
Chwarae Teg reveals the impact of Covid-19 on Women in Wales

“One Big Juggling Act” Childcare and Home-schooling During the First Lockdown

As schools and nurseries closed, we saw additional childcare and home-schooling responsibilities fall overwhelmingly to women, putting them under additional pressure as they tried to balance work and care. This left many women feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and undervalued.

Gendered assumptions about who would be responsible for care, inflexible work and a failure to consider women’s needs and experiences as decisions were taken all contributed to the challenges women faced. These challenges did not fall evenly, with single parents, women of colour, women on low-incomes and self-employed women all particularly hard hit.

Unfortunately, these experiences are not unexpected; they are the result of a collective failure to address the root causes of gender inequality:

  • Gender stereotypes mean women are still seen as carers first
  • We’ve accepted a precarious system of childcare that relies on women’s unpaid work for far too long
  • Work remains inflexible for many creating tension with other responsibilities at home
  • Too many women entered the pandemic in a financially vulnerable position as a result of poverty, low pay and insecure work.

Our second report exploring women’s experiences of Covid-19 discusses the impact of childcare and homeschooling and sets out recommendations to ensure any further lockdown or restrictions do not disadvantage women and to address the underlying issues that left women more vulnerable to negative experiences in the first place.

“One Big Juggling Act” Childcare and Home-schooling During the First Lockdown 

Childcare and Homeschooling had a significant impact on women during the first lockdown. Read about women’s experiences in our latest report: