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The pandemic has reversed gender equality progress in the workplace, PwC says

The pandemic has reversed gender equality progress in the workplace, PwC says

March 3, 2021: Women’s progress in the workplace is ready to reverse because of the coronavirus pandemic, professional services firm PwC found in its developed countries’ analysis. PwC said that the pandemic would push the progress towards gender equality in the workplace back to levels of 2017, in a report published Tuesday, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

According to PwC’s analysis of women’s economic empowerment, across 33 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, for its annual Women in Work index.

Participation of women in the labour market and equality is measured by the index, according to a weighted average in five categories.

OECD forecasts of the unemployment rate and labour force size for 2019, the latest data available, to its Women in Work index results to gauge the potential impact on these countries in 2020-22. It is found that the gender equality index is expected to come down 2 points amid 2019 and 2021, under the overall average score of 62 points in 2017.

To make up with the damage of pandemic to women’s position in the workplace by 2030, PwC projected that progress towards gender equality needed to be double fast compared to the previous decade.

Chief people officer at PwC, Laura Hinton, said that these findings showed there was “absolutely no time to lose in addressing the genuine impact of the pandemic on women.”

According to the research, global workforce women are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and are more likely to work in the sectors hardest-hit by the crisis. A United Nations study also found that women have been taking on the brunt of extra childcare and domestic duties since the pandemic began.

Hinton said that governments and businesses both had parts to play in “addressing the gender inequalities in unpaid work, through promoting and championing schemes like shared parental leave, affordable childcare, and flexible working arrangements.”

Larice Stielow, the senior economist at PwC, pointed out that losing women from the workforce “not only reverse progress towards gender equality, it also affects economic growth.”

In its ranking of the 33 countries analysed in the report, PwC found Iceland and Sweden retained their place as the top-performing countries for women’s progress in the workplace. New Zealand is in third place, thanks to the advancement in closing its gender pay gap and increasing the number of its full-time female employees.

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