The Coronavirus and the challenges for women’s work in Latin America

Sep 16, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the world and Latin America has not been able to escape from its health, economic and social impacts. The economic shutdown as a result of a combination of stringent measures (selfquarantines,
mandatory quarantines, limited capacity of people in commercial stores,
factories and offices, border closures, etc.), is generating profound economic and social impacts. In the labor market this means shocks to both supply and demand. Within households, this means an increase in the unpaid workload that falls disproportionately on women, further limiting their availability of time to carry out productive activities. The impacts and deepness of the crisis are different for women and men, so generalized formulas must be avoided as they can widen gender gaps.

This paper explores the impacts of the crisis on employment in sixteen countries of the region. Additionally, it analyzes gender impacts with four lenses: young people, people living in poverty, rural people and heads of household. It presents a set of policy options aimed at integrating the gender approach in all the cycle of the socio-economic response to the pandemic and in the post-pandemic. Emphasizing that solutions must be cross-cutting, we propose policies in three main areas: homes, work and the spaces between work and home.

Thus, socio-economic recovery policies will not only help to ease the impact in the short term, but also to make progress in equal opportunities for women and men in the medium and long term.

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