Bank analysts warned of a massive loss in the global gross domestic product (GDP) if women-dominated sectors remain on halt as part of social distancing and shelter-at-home measures.
Relatively, it appears that the health crisis has put female employees more vulnerable to losing their jobs than men.
GDP to contract by $1 trillion, more job loss predicted
The pandemic has already sent several countries’ unemployment rates at an all-time high, including the United States with 36 million job cuts.
However, in a recent report published by Bloomberg last Thursday, May 21, Citi analysts warned of a US$1 trillion [AU$1.5 trillion] loss in global GDP if 31 million female employees, as projected, will lose their jobs.
According to Dana Peterson and Catherine Mann, nearly 44 million workers are still at risk of losing their jobs if the economy continues to spiral down.
The two economists also emphasized that out of 44 million predicted job losses, 31 million of these are women, while the remaining 13 million are men.
Peterson and Mann explained:
“The greater vulnerability of female workers to job losses is because of the segmentation of women into sectors that are most negatively affected by coronavirus disruptions.”
While that sounds alarming already, the two economists clarified that China, the second-largest economy, is not included in the research. And the “real number” of anticipated job loss are more likely higher than the current figures.
Women face unemployment more than men amid a pandemic
Citi’s latest research also depicts how women are more at risk of the crippling impact of the pandemic. Based on the data, a total of 220 million women worldwide are working in what Citi called “vulnerable sectors.”
It is evident that women’s high participation in industries like hospitality, healthcare, and restaurants—which are the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic—has also contributed to the high number of furloughed women.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has already advised the government about the matter as well. Pialy Aditya, chief strategy officer of investment firm Republic, also shared the same view.
“Unfortunately, female employees are at a much higher risk for unemployment, especially with this pandemic,” she said.
However, Anthony Michelic, the president of the recruitment service PACE Group, argued that the situation is not because of “human influence” but of “sector risk exposure.”
Citi: ‘It isn’t all negative’
On a positive note, Mann and Peterson assured that “it is not all negative” for women. According to them, there is a possibility for pro-women policies that are existing already to be expanded further post-pandemic.
“Most of the policies that promoted female labor force participation pre-coronavirus are even more suitable in a post-pandemic world,” the two explained.
The contraction of the global GDP serves as a reminder that the battle against COVID-19 is still not over. As of April, 15% of women have lost their jobs, and there is still no sign of recovery in hardest-hit sectors.