John Bluedorn, Francesca Caselli, Niels-Jakob Hansen, Ippei Shibata, Marina M. Tavares, 30 April 2021

Early evidence from the COVID-19 recession suggested that women’s employment rates were falling disproportionately, portending a possible ‘she-cession’. Drawing on quarterly data from 38 advanced and emerging market economies, this column documents the extent and persistence of pandemic-induced she-cessions and uncovers significant heterogeneity across countries. In two-thirds of the countries studied, women’s employment rates declined more than men’s, but the differences were short-lived – lasting only a quarter or two on average – and strongly correlated to specific sectors of the economy.

Abigail Adams-Prassl, Teodora Boneva, Marta Golin, Christopher Rauh, 27 April 2021

Women, the young, and the less educated have borne the brunt of the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns in terms of job and earnings losses. As this column reports, women have also suffered far more from social distancing measures than men in terms of their mental health. Evidence from the Spring 2020 ‘stay-at-home’ orders in US states indicates that this widening gender gap in mental health cannot be explained by respondents earning less than usual, working less than usual, losing their job, struggling to pay their bills, or changing their work patterns or number of hours spent on childcare. 

Graziella Bertocchi, Arcangelo Dimico, 23 April 2021

It has been widely reported that among COVID-19 fatalities in the US, minorities are overrepresented while women are underrepresented. This column uses detailed individual-level data and georeferenced data on daily deaths in Cook County, Illinois, to reveal a Black female bias in fatalities. This bias is driven by Black women employed in high-exposure, frontline jobs in the healthcare and transportation sectors, that they reach by public transport from the historically poor neighbourhoods where they reside, having been disproportionately hit by the pandemic.

Gaurav Chiplunkar, Pinelopi Goldberg, 19 April 2021

Promoting gender equality in firm ownership is not only beneficial for women, but for the entire economy. This column describes a framework for quantifying the macroeconomic implications of gender-based distortions that affect female entrepreneurship. Applying the model to India suggests that eliminating the barriers to entry, operation, and expansion for female-owned firms could produce significant productivity and welfare gains.

Arie Kapteyn, Elena Stancanelli, 17 April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that more people are working from home and women are disproportionately losing paid work. This column uses daily activity diaries from the American Time Use Survey to look back at the impact of the unemployment benefit extensions that were triggered by the Great Recession on hours worked from home. The overall picture is one of increased gender inequality in the labour market, with women but not men increasing work hours and effort in response to the Great Recession and the consequent changes in the duration of unemployment benefits. 

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