COVID-19’s Disproportionate Effect on Women

An animated drawing of two women wearing masks in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An animated drawing of two women wearing masks in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karina Shah, Photojournalist

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it was clear to see that an economic recession would be inevitable. The global economy hit the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Like any other recession, the effect on women was far greater than men.

The biggest difference between its effect on men and women was the jobs lost. Globally, jobs lost by women are 1.8 times greater than the jobs lost by men ( A reason for this, especially in the US, is the unemployment rates increasing especially in the personal care and food service occupations that women dominate ( 

Besides lay-offs, many women have considered or taken leaving work due to the pandemic. In a survey taken of North American female employees, one out of four women surveyed said that they were considering or had taken reduced time or leaving paid work. There were a variety of reasons for these. Including the want for reduced stress about caring responsibilities, the need for more parental supervision of children, and the increase in demand for at-home responsibilities ( 

Out of the women affected, mothers, African American women, and senior women have been hit the hardest. Mothers have been given a tricky position in which they are oftentimes expected to or take on the responsibility of housework and caregiving burdens created by COVID-19 and those previously existing. African American women have been disproportionately affected in relation to the higher amounts of COVID in areas and communities that have high amounts of African American people. Finally, senior women have been put at greater risk due to the higher vulnerability of the elderly. This has caused many senior women to retire or quit their jobs to lower their risk of being infected ( 

Another global effect of the pandemic is the decrease in access to healthcare. Though this can be seen for both women and men, the issue of maternal health for women took a great toll on third world countries. A big problem is that fewer pregnant women have access to health care. This caused many women to have at-risk births that oftentimes lead to the death of the child. Among those who had access to health care, there were increased rates of mortality and stillbirth ( 

In the midst of the global pandemic, women have been significantly affected more than men. Hannah Bucklin (11) reminds people that “Even though everyone has suffered in some way, we should understand the perspective of those who have it harder as well.” With that in mind, women have continued to fight through the pandemic’s consequences alongside men and will continue to as the situation returns back to normal.