"I never expected to be made redundant. Even the night before it happened, a friend asked if I felt I had job security and I said ‘absolutely'," Morgan, a lawyer from Brisbane, previously told marie claire about losing her job during the pandemic.
She's not alone. As the pandemic continues there is mounting evidence suggesting women, especially young women, have been the hardest hit by the global health crisis. New data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows overall employment decreased by 7.5 percent between March 14 and April 18. In that, it showed that female employment dropped by 8.1 percent while male employment fell by 6.2 percent.
Associate Professor Alysia Blackham, who researches workplace discrimination and inequality at the University of Melbourne, told SBS News that the pandemic was magnifying already existing inequalities in the Australian workforce.
“Women were already overrepresented in insecure work and are more likely to be on casual contracts with no paid leave entitlements, so there is no obligation to employ them on an ongoing basis or ensure certain hours,” she told the outlet.
The reductions in hours worked has also been greater for women than for men, with female hours reducing by 11.5 percent, compared to a 7.5 percent drop for male hours, per the Financial Review.
Prof. Blackham also explained that women were taking on more responsibility in education and child care, making the search for work harder.
She explained, “As schools have moved to remote working and families have had to take their children out of daycare, women are also spending a disproportionate amount of time on caring responsibilities, and while we’d hope men would be picking up some of those responsibilities, we know women still carry most of them.”
It's not just in Australian either. A new study from the UK has shown that women and young people were the groups most at risk from both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. In the US, The Washington Post reported that women had an unemployment rate of 16.2 percent to men's 13.5 percent amid the pandemic.