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Press release

Pandemic and equality

Marlene Haupt PM

Weingarten - The effects of the Corona pandemic will be felt for a long time to come. Society has been changed not only by the virus itself, but also by the consequences of the political responses. One area where this is particularly striking is gender equity. Corona from a gender perspective - this was the subject of a study now published by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Professor Dr. Marlene Haupt is the lead author. She teaches social economics and social policy at Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences (RWU), where she also works as a gender equality officer.

Gender equity in crisis

"The results of the study show that achievements in gender justice are at stake due to the pandemic," says Marlene Haupt. Among other things, the data show that women were affected by short-time work more often than men. Also, she says, it was primarily mothers who absorbed the loss of care due to closed daycare centers and schools, for which they often reduced their working hours. "Once working hours have been reduced, it is often difficult to increase them again, and the loss of pay is also reflected in the old-age security of those affected," the researcher says.

Inequalities between the sexes would thus become entrenched again. For many women, the Corona pandemic means a return to traditional roles within the family and society. "Yet women in particular are overrepresented in the so-called system-relevant professions," says Marlene Haupt. However, the social recognition associated with this is hardly reflected in pay, she adds.

The consequences of the Corona pandemic are more drastic and lasting for women's work situation, she says. "With the loss of a job, power relations shift, and not only in the labor market," explains Marlene Haupt. "Financial dependencies also lead to inequalities in families and partners no longer seeing eye to eye."

Involuntary return to traditional role models

In addition to these social consequences, women are also affected by an increasing mental burden due to the pandemic, according to the study. "Additional tasks in the family, organizing, planning or other non-visible work were predominantly taken on by women," says Marlene Haupt. Added to this, she says, are the increased cases of domestic violence during the lockdown, to which those affected are defenseless under these circumstances.

A return to traditional role models is also evident in reporting on the pandemic. While half of the doctors in Germany are female, they made up only 20 percent of the medical professionals who had their say in the media. According to the study, women are also significantly underrepresented in the crisis team of the German government and the advisory Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Already existing grievances become obvious

In many places, the pandemic only makes the failures of past gender policies obvious, says Marlene Haupt. For example, while it is obvious that the woman in the family, with her often lower income, reduces her working hours, "This wage gap often has reasons, which in turn lie in a lack of gender equity. Too little has been done about this in the past."

Marlene Haupt calls for lessons to be learned from the pandemic now. "It has become even clearer how important comprehensive and reliable childcare is for equality in the labor market and thus also in society. Family and gender policy must be institutionalized so that it becomes an integral part of weighing political decisions."

Presentation and discussion of the study

As part of the "Early Night Social Talk" event series, Marlene Haupt will present the findings of the study, take a comparative look at the situation in Sweden, and invite a discussion afterwards.

Impact of the Corona Pandemic from a Gender Perspective - Germany and Sweden in Comparison - ONLINE

Wednesday, 13.01.2021 at 18.00 hrs.

The event is open to all interested parties.

Text: Michael Pfeiffer