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IMF warns: COVID crisis “puts women at disadvantage”

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The corona crisis threatens to further increase inequality between men and women in the world. Women are often victims of economic setbacks. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns against this.

If governments take the right measures, they can prevent women from being put behind unnecessarily. According to IMF experts, women are more likely than men to work in social sectors, such as tourism, retail or hospitality. It is precisely these sectors that are hit hardest by all lockdowns and corona measures and the chance of job or income loss is greater for this work.

Women are also more active in the informal economy of developing countries. This means that they are often paid in black and can easily be put on the street.

The IMF notes that women are also more concerned than men with household chores and childcare. If the schools of children are closed because of the virus outbreak, this makes it difficult for women to have paid work in addition to caring for the children.

In many poor countries, an additional problem arises during the economic crisis. There, parents prevent their children, usually the girls, from going to school. Instead, they are put to work to earn money for the family. According to the IMF, this is very damaging to the future prospects of these girls.

The fund advises governments to help vulnerable groups in society with a form of income support. The organization also advocates measures that help to better distribute care tasks in the family. For example, Austria, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia have introduced paid leave for parents with children under a certain age. And France has extended a sick leave scheme to parents whose children are temporarily unable to attend school and who have no one else to look after the children.

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