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CEP Covid-19 analysis

Work, care and gender during the Covid-19 crisis

The Covid-19 crisis has especially hit service sectors with frequent social interactions, in which women are over-represented. At the same time, if not directly subject to the lock-down, women are more likely to hold jobs that can be performed from home. Survey evidence for the UK shows that women are more likely to report job losses than men during Covid-19, suggesting that remote work opportunities only partially offset the differential exposure of men and women to the lockdown. Following the closure of nurseries and schools, women are also likely to take over a larger share of increased childcare needs. However, in about 20% of households, in which women work in critical sectors and men stay at home, one would expect a reversal of usual childcare gaps, with potential consequences on the evolution of gender roles and comparative advantages. Furthermore, valuable lessons may be learned from current remote working patterns, possibly feeding into more flexible working solutions for the long-run.

Claudia Hupkau and Barbara Petrongolo

14 May 2020     Paper Number CEPCOVID-19-002

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This CEP Covid-19 analysis is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.