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March 8, 2021

How the gendered nature of the pandemic recession on Australia’s labour market has worsened pay inequality

By Paul Dennis

8 March

Jim Stanford, an Director at the Centre for Future Work, tweeted an article by Alison Pennington, senior economist at the Centre for Future Work and author of a new research report on Australia’s post Covid recovery.

The report stated that the gendered nature of the pandemic recession on the country’s labour market has worsened pay inequality.

According to the report, women had lost more jobs than men when the pandemic hit, declining by almost 8% between February and May 2020, which was more than 2 percentage points worse than for men.

Meanwhile, job recovery has also been gendered.

For example, women held 53,000 fewer jobs in January 2021 than last year, while male employment grew by approximately 7,000 jobs.

In addition, women disproportionately returned to work in on a casual and part-time basis, as the economy reopened with easing of restrictions and vaccination efforts.

Ms Pennington further believes that having a job is not enough for women facing historic undervaluation of paid work.

The report highlights the expansion of casual work in the industrial relations package, public sector pay caps, and a high-cost inaccessible childcare system which could further widen pay inequality in the year ahead.

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