Canberra: The lingering impacts of Covid-19 pandemic in Australia were felt more severely by women in the country, a survey published on Tuesday said.
The survey conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) found that during the pandemic, women’s employment, hours of work, domestic labour, mental health and well-being all took larger hits than their male counterparts, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Women are also more likely to be casual, part-time or contract workers who were among the first to lose their jobs as businesses struggled in response to lockdown,” said lead researcher Terry Fitzsimmons.
The findings came from a nationwide survey of 1,931 men and 1,691 women employed across a variety of industries including construction, mining, education, healthcare and the arts, and were conducted between November 2021 and March 2022.
Of men surveyed, 84 per cent were in full time work compared with 72 per cent of women, meaning that women were much more likely to lose their jobs or income as health restrictions were introduced.
Following this trend, women were taking on more hours of domestic labour, house cleaning and child rearing, and foregoing new job opportunities or opportunities for professional development.
“The effects of these job losses, reduced income and domestic labour burdens meant women suffered greatly from fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression,” said Fitzsimmons.
The researchers said that the findings give new evidence that the outcomes of the pandemic have not been split equally along the lines of gender.
They made a series of recommendations to address the unequal impacts, including investment into early education and childcare, greater investment into social and mental health support, and addressing the role of gender stereotypes.
“Governments also need to better incorporate hybrid working arrangements, provide equal access to parental leave entitlements and overhaul wage-setting mechanisms,” said contributing author Miriam Yates.