ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

COVID-19 and ensuing changes in mobility have altered employment relations for millions of people across the globe. Emerging evidence shows that women may be more severely affected by this change. The pandemic, however, may have an impact beyond the immediate restructuring of employment and shift gender-role attitudes within households as a result of changes in the division of household labor. We analyze a representative sample of respondents in the U.S., Germany, and Singapore and show that transitions to unemployment, reductions in working hours and transitions to working from home have been more frequent for women than for men-although not to the same extent across the three countries. We also demonstrate that among couples who had been employed at the start of the pandemic, men express more egalitarian gender-role attitudes if they became unemployed but their partners remained employed, while women express more traditional attitudes if they became unemployed and their partners remained employed. These results indicate that gender-role attitudes might adapt to the lived realities. The long-term consequences will depend on how both men and women experience further shifts in their employment relations as economies recover.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
European Societies
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage:
The impact of COVID-19 on gender inequality in
the labor market and gender-role attitudes
Malte Reichelt , Kinga Makovi & Anahit Sargsyan
To cite this article: Malte Reichelt , Kinga Makovi & Anahit Sargsyan (2020): The impact of
COVID-19 on gender inequality in the labor market and gender-role attitudes, European Societies,
DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2020.1823010
To link to this article:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis
View supplementary material
Published online: 22 Sep 2020.
Submit your article to this journal
Article views: 66
View related articles
View Crossmark data
The impact of COVID-19 on gender inequality in the
labor market and gender-role attitudes
Malte Reichelt
, Kinga Makovi
and Anahit Sargsyan
Division of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE;
Institute for Employment
Research, Nuremberg, Germany
COVID-19 and ensuing changes in mobility have altered employment relations
for millions of people across the globe. Emerging evidence shows that women
may be more severely aected by this change. The pandemic, however, may
have an impact beyond the immediate restructuring of employment and
shift gender-role attitudes within households as a result of changes in the
division of household labor. We analyze a representative sample of
respondents in the U.S., Germany, and Singapore and show that transitions
to unemployment, reductions in working hours and transitions to working
from home have been more frequent for women than for men although
not to the same extent across the three countries. We also demonstrate that
among couples who had been employed at the start of the pandemic, men
express more egalitarian gender-role attitudes if they became unemployed
but their partners remained employed, while women express more
traditional attitudes if they became unemployed and their partners remained
employed. These results indicate that gender-role attitudes might adapt to
the lived realities. The long-term consequences will depend on how both
men and women experience further shifts in their employment relations as
economies recover.
ARTICLE HISTORY Received 31 July 2020; Accepted 9 September 2020
KEYWORDS Gender inequality; gender-role attitudes; unemployment; COVID-19
1. Introduction
Lockdown and social distancing measures that many countries intro-
duced to curb the spread of COVID-19 had a large impact on employ-
ment, including reductions in working hours, furloughs and work-
from-home arrangements (Brodeur et al.2020; Coibion et al.2020;
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDer-
ivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distri-
bution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered,
transformed, or built upon in any way.
CONTACT Malte Reichelt NYU Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Supplemental data for this article can be accessed at
Gupta et al.2020). The global public health crisis aected working
families in two profound ways. On the one hand, government sanctions
imposed on mobility and voluntary restrictions of movement for health
and safety reasons forced millions of workers to work from home (Bryn-
jolfsson et al.2020; Yasenov 2020). On the other hand, the economic
downturn led companies to downsize or forced them into bankruptcy,
which for many employees meant working fewer hours or for partial
pay or losing their jobs entirely (Adams-Prassl et al.2020; Béland et al.
2020; Brodeur et al.2020; Coibion et al.2020; Gupta et al.2020). Emer-
ging evidence suggests that women have been aected more severely by
these developments (Adams-Prassl et al.2020; Collins et al.2020;
Cowan 2020; Farre et al.2020; Frodermann et al.2020; Kristal and
Yaish 2020; Montenovo et al.2020).
However, COVID-19 and the lockdown measures may in addition to
having immediate negative eects for womens employment have
broader implications for gender inequality. Unanticipated disruptions
in the labor market have the potential to reorganize the division of
labor at home and, as a result, might cause gender relations to shift at
a societal scale. Previous work that focused on the impact of life events
on the gendered division of labor and gender-role attitudes has shown
that gender roles may shift and adapt to match (voluntarily or involun-
tarily) chosen behavior or circumstances (Smith-Lovin and Tickamyer
1978; Huber and Spitze 1981; Kroska 1997; Bolzendahl and Myers 2004).
In this paper, we investigate two interrelated questions. First, we
analyze how mens and womens employment status, their working
hours, and their working arrangements (main place of work) changed
during the pandemic. While previous work has focused on these out-
comes (Adams-Prassl et al.2020; Collins et al.2020; Cowan 2020;
Farre et al.2020;Frodermann et al.2020; Kristal and Yaish 2020; Mon-
tenovo et al.2020), no prior investigation considered and contrasted all
three over the same sample for the countries we analyze. Second, we
focus on people who experienced such transitions in their household to
study the association between these transitions and gender-role attitudes.
To our knowledge, we are the rst to study this relationship in the context
of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These questions are crucially important, as spells of unemployment,
especially when they are prolonged, make it dicult to reintegrate into
the labor market (Gangl 2004), a diculty that women may disproportio-
nately experience (Alon et al.2020). Additionally, societal norms and
expectations have been shown to shape the gendered division of
household labor (van der Lippe et al.2011) and contribute to the gender
pay gap (Vella 1994; Fortin 2005). Therefore, potential shifts in attitudes
toward womens participation in the labor market may also contribute to
their economic outcomes for years to come. We address these questions
using a representative sample of adults in the U.S., Germany, and Singa-
pore. These countries were selected because of their dierent experiences
with (1) the unfolding of the coronavirus outbreak, (2) governmental
responses, and (3) citizensconcerns about the virus. All of these dier-
ences might shape the experiences of men and women in the labor
market, which provides us with a diverse perspective on our research
2. Theory and hypotheses
2.1. COVID-19 and short-run gender inequality in the labor market
In contrast to previous crises, COVID-19 has had a larger impact on
industries with high proportions of female employment (Alon et al.
2020; ILO 2020). Moreover, school- and daycare closures increased car-
egiving responsibilities. Arguably, these changes increased the burden on
women more than on men (Alon et al.2020;Maet al.2020). In the U.S.,
for example, since the beginning of the pandemic, mothers have reduced
their working hours more than fathers (Collins et al.2020), reinforcing
and further skewing the existing distribution of childcare duties in
most families. We therefore anticipate that women, on average, have
experienced more transitions to working from home (H1a) and have
been more severely aected in terms of their working hours (H1b) and
their employment (H1c). We also recognize that cross-country variation
might exist.
2.2. The link between labor market transitions and gender-role
While the pandemics larger impact on womens employment may
adversely aect gender equality in the short run, shifts in working
relations may also alter gender-role attitudes and thus hold broader
implications for gender relations. Gender-role attitudes and gender ideol-
ogy in general encompass diverse factors, such as the belief in gendered
separate spheres, individualssupport for a division of paid work and
family responsibilities, or the acceptance of male privilege (Davis and
Greenstein 2009). These attitudes can thus be understood as multidimen-
sional constructs (Grunow et al.2018). While gender-role attitudes vary
among countries (see Online Appendix for a more detailed explanation
of gender-role attitudes in the U.S., Germany, and Singapore), we
assume that across all contexts, the pandemics impact on employment
relations may aect the dimension of gender-role attitudes that captures
attitudes toward womens involvement in paid work and the division of
Shifts in working relations should be particularly impactful for
working couples (Thompson and Walker 1989) and thus potentially
aect their gender-role attitudes the most. We theorize the impact of
changes in employment relations from the cognitive reinterpretation per-
spective, which holds that people adjust their gender-role attitudes to
accommodate changing family and employment circumstances (Smith-
Lovin and Tickamyer 1978; Huber and Spitze 1981; Kroska 1997). In
brief, this framework states that both men and women are inuenced
by their lived experience and shift their gender-role attitudes toward
their own circumstance (Bolzendahl and Myers 2004).
The primary
underlying mechanism discussed by prior work is the division of house-
hold labor that impacts gender-role attitudes (Corrigall and Konrad
2007), but other mechanisms such as dierential psychological reac-
tions to non-employment also play a role (Forret et al.2010; Özcan
et al.2010; Schmitt 2012). While these alternatives hold promise for
better understanding longer-term change, we focus on changes in
employment relations that immediately impact families by making
those who are impacted more available for household labor. This
immediate shockmay thus shape gender-role attitudes in ways that
match the new lived realities.
Note that this framework is closely aligned with the predictions of cognitive dissonance theory, namely,
that personal experiences promote attitudinal change, especially when dissonant cognitions based on
ones own attitudes and behavior arise. Prior work speculates that behaviors are less malleable, while
attitudes adapt more easily (Schober 2012). We are considering shocksto behavior, specically,
changes in mens and womens involvement in household labor and child care when applicable
(unmeasured), and anticipate these to be associated with post-behavior change in attitudes, which
we do measure (although we do not measure these attitudes prior to the change in employment
relations or working arrangements). Thus, we capture the association between the change in avail-
ability of men and women for household labor and their attitudes post-change as outlined here.
Both cognitive dissonance theory and the cognitive reinterpretation perspective would predict an
adaptation of gender-role attitudes as a response to changes in housework while assuming
dierent psychological mechanisms (i.e. resolving a cognitive dissonance vs. adapting attitudes to
behavior more generally).
2.3. Did COVID-19 change the division of household labor?
COVID-19 has indeed changed couplesexperiences with employment
outside the household and the division of labor at home. Bujard et al.
(2020), for example, nd that both men and women increased their
time spent on housework and that women did not engage signicantly
more in housework than men as a response to lockdown measures.
Accordingly, time allocation for childcare has become more equal
during COVID-19 when men are working from home or have lost
their jobs (Sevilla and Smith 2020). However, Andrew et al.(2020) also
show that mothers who have stopped working for pay do far more dom-
estic work than fathers in the equivalent situation. In a similar vein, Hank
and Steinbach (2020)nd that more women now take on the primary
role of housework and childcare in the German context, while men are
increasingly contributing as well. These ndings support our theoretical
assumption that time spent at home is associated with increased house-
work for both men and women. Whether or not these developments lead
to more or less egalitarian gender-role attitudes will depend on (1)
whether womensormens employment relations are more aected
and (2) how these transitions (and the respective changes in housework)
relate to gender-role attitudes. Because transitions to unemployment
arguably impose the largest change in availability, we expect these tran-
sitions to have the strongest association with gender-role attitudes,
while reductions in working hours may produce similar, but weaker,
2.4. Hypotheses on COVID-19 and gender-role attitudes
We do not anticipate any change in gender-role attitudes when both or
neither men and women in working couplestransition to unemployment
or reduce working hours, as no change occurs in their relative availability
to perform household tasks. When women stop working or reduce hours,
while men do not experience any change, we anticipate both women
(H2a) and men (H2b) to shift toward more traditional gender-role atti-
tudes as women become more available to participate in a traditional
role. We anticipate that the association is stronger for the person who
experiences the transition. In contrast, when men stop working or
reduce hours, while womens employment relations remain unchanged,
gender role attitudes of men could shift in either a more egalitarian
(H3a) or a more traditional (H3b) direction. The latter expectation is
based on previous work showing that malesunemployment could also
increase womens household labor (Solaz 2005; van der Lippe et al.
2018) and may therefore balance out malesincreased availability.
Because of this ambiguity, we likewise anticipate that womens gender-
role attitudes either do not change or shift toward more traditional
gender-role attitudes when their partners are impacted (H3b). Again,
in this case, we anticipate that the gender-role attitudes of the person
experiencing the transition (in this case men) will react more strongly
than those of the partner.
Around the globe, many workers are currently being asked to telecom-
mute or perform work at home (e.g. Brynjolfsson et al. 2020; Frodermann
et al.2020; Yasenov 2020). In contrast to transitions to unemployment or
a reduction in working hours, working from home does not necessarily
oer the chance to rearrange the division of housework (although it
might in some cases; see Hank and Steinbach 2020). When men tran-
sition to working from home, however, they may be exposed to the pre-
viously invisiblelabor of childcare and housework of women (Collins
et al.2020), which might lead to more egalitarian attitudes among men
(H4a). For womens transition to working from home, we do not
expect shifts in gender-role attitudes (H4b).
3. Data
We collected a sample of the general population older than 18 years in the
U.S., Germany, and Singapore using the survey rm YouGov. The data
are representative by age, gender, and education level in all three
countries, while in the U.S., the sample is also representative by race
and region achieved by YouGovs proprietary advanced matching algor-
ithm (further details on sampling strategy can be found in the Online
Appendix). Respondents were reached via email and completed a
survey online in May and June 2020. From the complete sample of
5,008 respondents, we constructed two analytical samples used in this
article: the rst contains individuals who reported that they worked
full- or part-time in January 2020, answering retrospective questions
about their employment status (N= 2,594; 49.7% U.S., 21.1% Germany,
29.2% Singapore). The second sample contains couples in which both
the respondent and his or her cohabiting partner worked full- or part-
time in January, answering retrospective questions about themselves
and their partners (N= 1,131; 48.8% U.S., 24.1% Germany, 27.1% Singa-
pore). Further details on the sample construction are reported in the
Online Appendix. Our main dependent variables for the questions
regarding the gendered impact of COVID-19 on employment transitions
are threefold. We rst focus on whether the respondents transitioned to
working from home between January and the time of the interview
(H1a). Second, we assess whether the respondents experienced a signi-
cant reduction in working hours (H1b), meaning a reduction of at least
10 h per week compared to their working hours in January. Third, we
assess whether the respondents have lost their full- or part-time employ-
ment since January (H1c). Respondentsworking arrangement, working
hours, and employment situation in January are collected retrospectively
at the time of the interview in May or June 2020. Our main independent
variable for this analysis is the respondents gender.
Our main dependent variable for answering questions regarding
gender-role attitudes (H2a-H4b) is an index measuring gender norms.
The index is composed of the four items taken from the General Social
Survey specically, A working mother can establish just as warm
and secure a relationship with her children;A pre-school child is
likely to suer if his or her mother works;Having a job is the best
way for a woman to be an independent person. Both the husband and
the wife should contribute to the household income; and A husbands
job is to earn money; a wifes job is to look after the home and family
assessed on a 5-point Likert-scale of agreement. While gender-role atti-
tudes and gender ideology in general encompass more diverse factors
(Davis and Greenstein 2009) and can be understood as a multidimen-
sional construct (Grunow et al.2018), we are here only focused on the
dimension of gender role-attitudes that captures attitudes toward
womens and motherspaid work and the division of labor. The four
items are particularly well suited to capturing this dimension and have
been strategically chosen for the purposes of this study. We concentrate
on these attitudes because we argue that COVID-19 has aected employ-
ment relations and these changes, in turn, aect mens and womens
understanding of the division of labor. The items are recoded so that
higher values indicate more egalitarian views, and the index is calculated
as the arithmetic mean of the items. A Cronbachs alpha value of
=0.65 indicates an acceptable reliability of the index. We calculate
two alternative measures based on these four items employing iterated
principle factor analysis (IPF) and principle component analysis
(PCA). These methods can identify latent factors that capture dis-
tinguishable aspects of gender-role attitudes and are thus well suited to
assessing whether a dierent combination of the four items (or a
subset) better captures our main construct of interest. A more thorough
description of the factor analyses can be found in the Online Appendix.
Here, we note that pairwise correlations are at least
=0.98 across the
three indices.
Our main independent variables for H2a-H4b are indicators of
changes in employment relations, reduction in working hours, and tran-
sitioning to working from home for both the respondent and his or her
cohabiting partner. Control variables common to all models include birth
cohort, education, income percentile in January, a variable indicating
whether children below the age of 5 are living in the household,
country xed eects, and state xed eects in the U.S. and Germany.
For a more thorough description of all variables, see the Online
4. Methods
To assess whether and to what degree womens employment outcomes
are more aected by labor market disruptions related to COVID-19,
we rst compare unconditional mean dierences across groups and use
simple t-tests. We also calculate linear probability models for each of
the three transitions in the respondents(i) employment outcomes (n):
mXmi +1mi (1)
where COVID TRANSni represents the three indicators for COVID-19-
related labor market disruptions;
0is a constant, and
1estimates the
dierence in the transition probability by gender; and
mestimates the
relationship of mcontrol variables in vector Xmi mentioned above. In
these models, we are mainly interested in the statistical association
between the gender dummy and the outcomes of interest, which allows
us to assess whether transition probabilities are signicantly dierent
between men and women.
To estimate how COVID-19-related labor market disruptions in
employment outcomes are associated with gender-role attitudes, we esti-
mate the following linear regressions:
Attitudesgi =
ni +
mXmi +1mi, for men and women (2)
where Attitudesgi represents the three dierent indicators for gender ega-
litarian attitudes; β
estimates the linear relationships of the COVID-19-
induced employment transitions of men in the household, while β
resents the linear relationships of the COVID-19-induced employment
transitions of women. Additional control variables are indicators for
partnersemployment relations in January. We estimate the model sep-
arately for men and women, which allows us to compare the relationships
between employment transitions of the respondent and their partners
with gender-role attitudes. We calculate fully separate models instead
of interacting a gender dummy with all potential transitions because
we assume gender-specic relationships between some variables and
gender-role attitudes. Across all models, we cluster standard errors on
the state level and use survey weights.
5. Results
We rst descriptively assess the gender dierences in having transitioned
to working from home, having experienced a substantial reduction in
weekly working hours (>10), and having become unemployed between
January and the time of the interview. Figure 1 shows that across the
U.S., Germany, and Singapore, women were signicantly more likely to
experience any of these transitions, conditional on having worked
either full-time or part-time in January, supporting H1a, H1b, and
H1c. The dierences in the likelihood for these transitions are substantial:
Figure 1. COVID-related changes in labor market outcomes.
Notes: 95% condence intervals, survey weights used, N= 2,589, *p< 0.05; **p< 0.01; ***p< 0.001.
women have a 7 percentage points higher likelihood of having experi-
enced a transition to working from home, a 5 percentage points higher
likelihood of having reduced their weekly hours by more than 10, and
a 3 percentage points higher likelihood of having transitioned to unem-
ployment since January. Analyzing these transitions separately for the
U.S., Germany, and Singapore reveals remarkable heterogeneities
among the countries. For example, while womens risk of transitioning
to unemployment is signicantly higher than mens only in Germany
and Singapore, the likelihood of reducing working hours or transitioning
to working from home is only signicantly higher for women in the U.S.
and close to zero and non-signicant for the other countries. For separate
analyses and a more thorough interpretation of the country-specic
results, please see the Online Appendix.
To explore the potential reasons behind womens larger transition
probabilities (H1a-H1c), we evaluate whether gender dierences in
COVID-19-induced transitions are associated with womens and mens
employment status before COVID. We then calculate linear probability
models conditional on the control variables outlined above. In Table 1,
models 1, 3, and 5 only control for dierences in the likelihood of tran-
sitions across the three countries, which reveals that gender dierences
are not due to dierences in labor market participation across the
countries. Models 2, 4, and 6 add additional variables, which reveal
that gender dierences in transitions to working from home and in redu-
cing hours mostly hold even after accounting for male-female dierences
in socio-demographics, income, and pre-COVID employment relations.
Gender dierences in transitions to unemployment, however, disappear,
which can mostly be ascribed to women having worked part-time and
having had lower incomes in January, factors associated with a higher
risk of becoming unemployed.
In Figure 2, we assess whether COVID-19-related changes in tran-
sitions to unemployment, reduction in working hours, or transitions to
working from home of respondents and their partners are associated
with mens and womens gender-role attitudes. The model includes all
control variables described above and further incorporates measures
for the partners employment status in January, which might be associ-
ated with gender egalitarian work attitudes and labor market choices
made prior to the pandemic. The graph shows estimates for the relation-
ship between the respondentsand/or their partnerstransitions on all
three measures for gender-role attitudes (based on the arithmetic
mean, iterated principle factor analysis (IPF), and principal component
analysis (PCA)). Bars around the point estimate show the 95% condence
intervals for each estimate. The full model including all estimates for
control variables can be found in the Online Appendix.
As anticipated, respondentsown transitions to unemployment have
the most pronounced association with gender-role attitudes and are the
Table 1. Linear-probability models: COVID-related changes in labor market outcomes.
Transition to working
from home
Reduction in working
Transition to
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Female 0.068** 0.101*** 0.057** 0.040+ 0.037* 0.007
(0.02) (0.02) (0.02) (0.02) (0.02) (0.02)
Children below the age of 5 in
0.044 0.047+ 0.061*
(0.04) (0.02) (0.03)
(ref: Lower secondary or less)
Upper secondary education 0.110* 0.032 0.076+
(0.05) (0.04) (0.04)
Post-secondary non-
tertiary education or
short-cycle tertiary
0.184** 0.046 0.039
(0.06) (0.04) (0.04)
Bachelors or higher 0.331*** 0.052 0.034
(0.05) (0.04) (0.04)
Birth cohort
(ref: 19271956)
19571964 0.020 0.076+ 0.060
(0.04) (0.04) (0.04)
19651978 0.049 0.024 0.034
(0.04) (0.04) (0.03)
19791989 0.092* 0.077+ 0.045
(0.05) (0.04) (0.04)
19902001 0.096* 0.087* 0.013
(0.05) (0.04) (0.05)
Working arrangement in Jan.
(ref: Mostly working outside)
Mostly working from home 0.081* 0.077+
(0.04) (0.04)
Partly working from home 0.044 0.050+ 0.091***
(0.05) (0.03) (0.02)
Employment relation in Jan.
(ref: Full-time employed)
Part-time employed 0.061 0.160** 0.137***
(0.05) (0.06) (0.03)
Survey country
(ref: U.S.)
Germany 0.104*** 0.041+ 0.060* 0.060* 0.169*** 0.123***
(0.03) (0.02) (0.02) (0.03) (0.02) (0.03)
Singapore 0.351*** 0.443*** 0.072** 0.081*** 0.166*** 0.071***
(0.02) (0.01) (0.02) (0.02) (0.02) (0.02)
Income percentiles Yes Yes Yes
State xed eects Yes Yes Yes
Number of observations 1,857 1,857 1,876 1,876 1,961 1,961
Notes: Survey weights used; + p< 0.01; * p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01; *** p< 0.001
only factors that are signicant for both men and women at the 5% level.
The results match the predictions based on theories that argue that
gender-role attitudes adapt to lived realities (Smith-Lovin and Tickamyer
1978; Huber and Spitze 1981; Kroska 1997; Bolzendahl and Myers 2004).
The right-hand side of the graph shows that womens gender-role atti-
tudes are negatively associated with their own transition to unemploy-
ment, which supports H2a. Their partnersattitudes are not statistically
signicantly impacted (not supporting H2b). Second, we show that
mens gender-role attitudes are more egalitarian when they transition
to unemployment, which supports H3a, potentially as a result of their
increased participation in household labor (unmeasured in our study).
Again, their partnersattitudes are not statistically signicantly impacted
(not supporting H3c).
These associations are non-negligible, showing a 0.3 value dierence
for both men and men for indexes that have a range of approximately
4 (see Table S1 and Figure S2 in the Online Appendix for a description
of the indexes). As these associations hold when controlling for
income, employment arrangements in January, and as transitions to
unemployment are most likely involuntary and resulted from the exogen-
ous shock of the pandemic, we suspect that dierences in gender-role
attitudes emerge as a consequence of transitions to unemployment.
Nonetheless, at this stage, we cannot fully preclude that the causal
relationship is reversed and that women, for example, are more likely
Figure 2. Linear regression: Gender egalitarian attitudes.
Notes: Sample conditioned to respondents who worked full- or part-time in January and whose cohabit-
ing partners worked full- or part-time in January; Survey weights used; Bars signify 95% condence
to withdraw from the labor market when having more traditional gender-
role attitudes. To interrogate this possibility, we analyzed whether having
children increases womens likelihood of experiencing this transition and
nd that the coecients in the interaction term between female and
having children under the age of 5 is small and not statistically signicant,
suggesting that childcare responsibilities have not explained much gender
specic employment disruption so far.
Transitions to working from home are also associated with more ega-
litarian attitudes among men (signicant at the 5% level for some index
specications), supporting H4a. While these results may indicate that
exposure to more housework or the partners work has a positive
impact on gender egalitarian views, we cannot preclude that couples
with more egalitarian views select occupations in which transitioning
to working from home is easier. Controlling for education, income,
and employment status in January might not be able to capture potential
unobserved dierences, e.g. if respondents with more egalitarian views
would already work in jobs that allow greater exibility regarding their
working arrangement. We do not nd an association for women, sup-
porting H4b.
6. Discussion
Based on nationally representative samples for the United States,
Germany, and Singapore, we contribute to empirical evidence document-
ing the economic toll of COVID-19 and related government and self-
imposed restrictions on mobility (Brodeur et al.2020). We focused on
the pandemicsdierential impact on men and women and found that
women in the labor market are more severely aected than men as
they are more likely to work from home, reduce working hours, and
become unemployed. In particular, the dierences in unemployment
probabilities are largely due to womens pre-COVID employment situ-
ation (e.g. their higher likelihood of working part-time). After taking
individual and employment characteristics into account, mens and
womens unemployment risks do not substantially dier anymore, point-
ing toward potential mechanisms of the arising gender inequalities in the
labor market. The risk of transitioning to working from home or to
reduce working hours is still more pronounced for women, however.
The results indicate that while womens higher unemployment risks
may be due to their higher share of atypical work arrangements (e.g.
part-time), gender dierences in transitions to working from home and
reduction in hours are associated with more ne-grained gender dier-
ences in the labor market, e.g. mens and womens occupations or indus-
tries, which we could not control for. We documented that national
variations in these relationships exist. Women are more likely than
men to transition to unemployment in Germany and Singapore, while
they are more likely to reduce hours or transition to working from
home in the U.S.
Most importantly, we are the rst to report how the COVID-19-
related labor market disruption may inuence gender-role attitudes
within couples. We nd that womens transitions to unemployment
(when their partners remain in their jobs) are associated with more tra-
ditional gender-role attitudes and that mens transitions to unemploy-
ment (when their partners remain in their jobs) are associated with
more egalitarian views. The ndings provide preliminary support for the-
ories on cognitive reinterpretation and cognitive dissonance (e.g. Kroska
1997; Schober 2012), which predict that gender-role attitudes adapt to the
lived realities that change due to COVID-19. Our ndings match the
theoretical prediction that when men lose their jobs, given that tra-
ditional gender beliefs mandate mens full-time employment and
limited participation in household labor, they are entering a nontradi-
tional arrangement, which seems to push their attitudes in an egalitarian
direction. When women lose their jobs, they are losing the role that could
be seen as egalitarian or nontraditional, which pushes their gender-role
attitudes in a more traditional direction. We, however, stress the point
that in the present study we do not yet observe this adaption
process and must refer to our future data collection to be able to verify
these theoretical predictions as causal.
The analysis reported here is not without limitations. Perhaps the most
important is that due to the so-far cross-sectional nature of our data
we are unable to ultimately reject the possibility of selection into unem-
ployment, especially by women who hold more traditional gender-role
attitudes. However, the fact that COVID-19 has aected womens
employment relations to a larger degree than mens and the nding
that womens changes in employment relations are associated with
more traditional gender-role attitudes yield important implications for
future gender relations. Employment relations and gender-role attitudes
shape each other and co-evolve. In this regard, shifts toward more tra-
ditional gender role attitudes as a result of a more traditional division
of labor or a more traditional division of labor as a result of traditional
gender role attitudes may both reverse some of the change that had
taken hold over the past few decades toward more egalitarian views and
labor market participation.
While the direct economic impact of employment disruptions will be
long felt, we aimed to draw attention to how these disruptions may
impact especially womens likelihood of rejoining the labor market.
The data collection that we reported preliminary results from is longi-
tudinal, and we will follow our respondents over the course of the
coming year and into 2021. These longer-term lenses will allow us to
assess the longevity of these associations and provide us with an oppor-
tunity to study potentially gendered patterns of reintegration into the
labor market.
We thank the editors, two anonymous reviewers, Paula England, and Karl-Ulrich
Mayer for their valuable comments. We thank our collaborators on the larger
project Maria Abascal, Eugen Dimant, Michele Gelfand, Jinyi Kuang, and Alex
Shpenev for their comments and suggestions on the survey and Hannah Kasak-
Glibofor her research support.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author(s).
This work was supported by the NYUAD Center for Interacting Urban Networks
(CITIES), funded by Tamkeen under the NYUAD Research Institute Award
CG001 and by the Swiss Re Institute under the Quantum Citiesinitiative.
Notes on contributors
Malte Reichelt is Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy at the Div-
ision of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Research
Associate at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg,
Germany. His main areas of research include social stratication, labor markets
and work, technological change, and gender inequality.
Kinga Makovi is an Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy at the
Division of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). Her main
areas of research include social networks, experimental and computational
Anahit Sargsyan is an Instructor supporting Social Research and Public Policy
program at the Division of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi
(NYUAD). Her main research interests lie in the intersection of data science, AI,
computational social science with practical applications in education, health and
information systems.
Malte Reichelt
Kinga Makovi
Adams-Prassl, A., Boneva, T., Golin, M. and Rauh, C. (2020)Inequality in the
impact of the coronavirus shock: evidence from real time surveys,IZA
Discussion Paper 13183: 149.
Alon, T.M., Doepke, M., Olmstead-Rumsey, J. and Tertilt, M. (2020)The impact of
COVID19 on gender equality,NBER Working Paper 26947: 137.
Andrew, A., Cattan, S., Costa Dias, M., Farquharson, C., Kraftman, L., Krutikova, S.,
Phimister, A. and Sevilla, A. (2020)The gendered division of paid and domestic
work under lockdown,IZA Discussion Paper 13500: 130.
Béland, L.-P., Brodeur, A. and Wright, T. (2020)The short-term economic conse-
quences of COVID-19: exposure to disease, remote work and government
response,IZA Discussion Paper 13159: 190.
Bolzendahl, C.I. and Myers, D.J. (2004)Feminist attitudes and support for gender
equality: opinion change in women and men, 19741998,Social Forces 83(2):
Brodeur, A., Gray, D., Islam, A. and Bhuiyan, S.J. (2020)A literature review of the
economics of COVID-19,GLO Discussion Paper 601: 171.
Brynjolfsson, E., Horton, J. J., Ozimek, A., Rock, D., Sharma, G. and TuYe, H.-Y.
(2020)Covid-19 and remote work: An early look at us data,NBER Working
Paper 27344: 125.
Bujard, M., Laß, I., Diabaté, S., Sulak, H. and Schneider, N.F. (2020). Eltern während
der Corona-krise. Zur Improvisation gezwungen. Bundesinstitut für
Bevölkerungsforschung, Report.
Coibion, O., Gorodnichenko, Y. and Weber, M. (2020)Labor markets during the
COVID-19 crisis: A preliminary view,NBER Working Paper 27017: 113.
Collins, C., Landivar, L.C., Ruppanner, L. and Scarborough, W.J. (2020)COVID-19
and the gender gap in work hours,Gender, Work Organization:112. doi:10.1111/
Corrigall, E.A. and Konrad, A.M. (2007)Gender role attitudes and careers: a longi-
tudinal study,Sex Roles 56: 84755.
Cowan, B.W. (2020)Short-run eects of COVID-19 on U.S. worker transitions,
NBER Working Paper 27315: 116.
Davis, S.N. and Greenstein, T.N. (2009)Gender ideology: components, predictors,
and consequences,Annual Review of Sociology 35: 87105.
Farre, L., Fawaz, Y., Gonzalez, L. and Graves, J. (2020)How the COVID-19 lock-
down aected gender inequality in paid and unpaid work in Spain,IZA
Discussion Paper 13434: 136.
Forret, M.L., Sullivan, S.E. and Mainiero, L.A. (2010)Gender role dierences in
reactions to unemployment: Exploring psychological mobility and boundaryless
careers,Review of Economics of the Household 31(5): 64766.
Fortin, N.M. (2005)Gender role attitudes and the labour-market outcomes of
women across OECD countries,Oxford Review of Economic Policy 21(3): 41638.
Frodermann, C., Grunau, P., Haepp, T., Mackeben, J., Ruf, K., Stees, S. and Wanger,
S. (2020)Wie Corona den Arbeitsalltag verändert hat,IAB-Kurzbericht 13: 112.
Gangl, M. (2004)Welfare states and the scar eects of unemployment: A compara-
tive analysis of the United States and West Germany,American Journal of
Sociology 109(6): 131964.
Grunow, D., Begall, K. and Buchler, S. (2018)Gender ideologies in Europe: a multi-
dimensional framework,Journal of Marriage and Family 80(1): 4260.
Gupta, S., Montenovo, L., Nguyen, T.D., Lozano Rojas, F., Schmutte, I.M., Simon,
K.I., Weinberg, B.A. and Wing, C. (2020)Eects of social distancing policy on
labor market outcomes,NBER Working Paper 27280: 147.
Hank, K. and Steinbach, A. (2020)The virus changed everything, didnt it? Couples
division of housework and childcare before and during the Corona crisis,Journal
of Family Research 116. doi:10.20377/jfr-488
Huber, J. and Spitze, G. (1981)Wivesemployment, household behaviors, and sex-
role attitudes,Social Forces 60(1): 15069.
ILO (2020)The Covid-19 Response: Getting Gender Equality Right for a Better Future
for Women at Work, Geneva: ILO brief, ILO.
Kristal, T. and Yaish, M. (2020)Does the coronavirus pandemic level the gender
inequality curve? (it doesnt),Research in Social Stratication and Mobility 68:
15. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100520.
Kroska, A. (1997)The division of labor in the home: a review and reconceptualiza-
tion,Social Psychology Quarterly 60: 30422.
Ma, S., Sun, Z. and Xue, H. (2020)Childcare Needs and ParentsLabor Supply:
Evidence from the COVID-19 Lockdown, SSRN, ILO.
Montenovo, L., Jiang, X., Rojas, F.L., Schmutte, I.M., Simon, K.I., Weinberg, B.A. and
Wing, C. (2020)Determinants of disparities in COVID-19 job losses,NBER
Working Paper 27132: 118.
Özcan, B., Mayer, K.-U. and Luedicke, J. (2010)The impact of unemployment on the
transition to parenthood,Demographic Research 23: 80746.
Schmitt, C. (2012)A cross-national perspective on unemployment and rst births,
Review of Economics of the Household 28: 30335.
Schober, P. (2012)Maternal employment and gender role attitudes: dissonance
among British men and women in the transition to parenthood,Work,
Employment and Society 26: 51430.
Sevilla, A. and Smith, S. (2020)Baby steps: the gender division of childcare during
the Covid-19 pandemic,IZA Discussion Paper 13302: 129.
Smith-Lovin, L. and Tickamyer, A.R. (1978)Nonrecursive models of labor force par-
ticipation, fertility behavior and sex role attitudes,American Sociological Review
43: 54156.
Solaz, A. (2005)Division of domestic work: Is there adjustment between partners
when one is unemployed? Evidence from French couples,Review of Economics
of the Household 3: 387413.
Thompson, L. and Walker, A.J. (1989)Gender in families: women and men in mar-
riage, work, and parenthood,Journal of Marriage and the Family 51(4): 84571.
van der Lippe, T., de Ruijter, J., de Ruijter, E. and Raub, W. (2011)Persistent
inequalities in time use between men and women: a detailed look at the
inuence of economic circumstances, policies, and culture,European
Sociological Review 27(2): 16479.
van der Lippe, T., Treas, J. and Norbutas, L. (2018)Unemployment and the division
of housework in Europe,Work, Employment and Society 32(4): 65069.
Vella, F. (1994)Gender roles and human capital investment: the relationship
between traditional attitudes and female labour market performance,
Economica, New Series 61(242): 191211.
Yasenov, V. (2020)Who can work from home?,IPL Working Paper Series 20: 112.
... It is also of note that a higher percentage of women lost their jobs during the pandemic than that of partners (6.8% vs. 3.2%). Despite heterogeneity among countries, women have been shown to experience higher rates of job or income loss during the pandemic (41,42). Moreover, during the pandemic, the time spent by children at home increased significantly with the closure of schools and daycare centres. ...
INTRODUCTION: Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a human rights violation and a public health concern. The incidence of IPV increases in mass events such as epidemics. The aim of this study was to assess the nature and the extent of IPV among women in Turkey; to identify the associated factors, and mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: The study has a cross-sectional, descriptive design. An online self-report survey, based on World Health Organization guidance on epidemiological studies to assess IPV, was conducted among women between 09.01.2021 and 09.02.2021. The survey had 69 questions which covered sociodemographic characteristics, relationship history, types of violence and mental well-being. Inclusion criteria were being over the age of 18, and having a spouse/partner during the pandemic. Participation was on voluntary basis. 1372 women were included in the analysis. RESULTS: Around a third (30.7%) of participants were exposed to any type of violence before the pandemic, with most common form being emotional violence, and this rate remained unchanged during the pandemic, despite the time spent with partners were expected to increase due to isolation measures. 61 women (4.4%), mostly university graduates living in cities, reported being subject to violence for the first time during the pandemic. 31.2% of them were cases of digital violence. Lower level of education, younger age and partner's alcohol and substance use was associated with IPV, and IPV was associated with poorer mental well-being. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Despite the public health measures taken during the pandemic (e.g. lockdowns), where women would have spent more time isolated with their partners, rates of IPV did not change from pre-pandemic to pandemic. This outcome needs to be compared with findings from other contexts. Strategies to prevent IPV is of utmost importance for the protection of mental well-being of women and the society during and after the pandemic.
... SDGs aimed for considerable reduction in gender inequality by 2030. However, the pandemic resulted in widening gender gap in terms of increased drop in employment opportunities for women, increased working hours, invisible and unpaid work and lack of protection and safety [8]. Hence the post COVID pandemic society need to intensify initiatives to empower women through social security, women friendly employment policies and inclusive social policy initiatives. ...
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the later part of 2020 resulted in enormous social and economic disruption leading to a quick transformation of global society. A health crisis that interrupted the lives of every individual across the globe, soon changed in to a human, economic and social crisis. All segments of the society irrespective of their status and privilege experienced the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, however the marginalized and vulnerable populations including people living in poverty situations, older persons, persons with disabilities, youth, and indigenous peoples in developing, less developed and lower- and middle-income countries had the greater impact on their lives and livelihood. Furthermore, homeless population, people effected by war and conflict, people without access to running water, refugees, migrants, or displaced population continues to face the aftermaths of the pandemic.
... In models with narrowed dimensions, deprivation gaps between women and men are even larger, 6.39 and 9.01 percentage points for all individuals and individuals separated from a job in a current year, respectively, both significant at the five-percent level (Table 12). Our finding is in line with existing evidence showing that during the pandemic women have experienced more difficulties (such as unemployment) in labor markets than men (Alon et al. 2020a;Reichelt et al. 2020;Ham 2021;Tverdostup 2022). To certain extent this might be explained by the gender composition of different sectors of the economy. ...
This paper explores the multidimensional deprivation from labor market opportunities in Armenia by constructing a Quality of Employment measure. Using Labor Force Survey datasets for the years 2018 and 2020, we conduct a comparative analysis for a group of job-separated individuals. The identified dimensions of deprivation from labor market opportunities prior to and after the onset of COVID-19 are reasons for separating from a job, reasons for not looking for a job, and main obstacles in finding a job. These dimensions enable to study employee-level (supply factors) and job-related characteristics (demand factors). Our study shows that demand factors are the primary drivers of amplified deprivation in times of the pandemic. Also, we observe that the gender gap in the labor market deprivation has been increased during the pandemic, further amplified for married women. Interestingly, gender gap in deprivation is invariant to the occupational composition.
... For example, domestic workers in Peru and India not only lose their means of subsistence but also have a steeper loss in income [139,140]. Similar findings have been reported in Kenya, Mexico, China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Paraguay, Argentina, and the United States, where women have faced disproportionate job losses in the labor market [141][142][143][144][145][146], decreased work hours [147][148][149] and decreases in income more than men [150,151]. In Turkey, women had less employment disruption than men due to their lower labor force participation before the pandemic [152]. ...
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women and threatens to overturn four decades of progress in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. To better grasp the key areas of concern that gender inequality exists, gender studies and sex-disaggregated evidence are required. Using the PRISMA technique, this review paper is the first attempt to present a comprehensive and current picture of the gendered dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh regarding economic well-being, resource endowments, and agency. This study found that women were more likely to face hardship as widows, mothers, or sole breadwinners after the loss of husbands and male household members because of the pandemic. The evidence suggests that the advancement of women during this pandemic was hampered by poor reproductive health outcomes; girls' dropping out of school; job loss; less income; a comparable wage gap; a lack of social security; unpaid work burnout; increased emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; an increase in child marriages; and less participation in leadership and decision-making. Our study found inadequate sex-disaggregated data and gender studies on COVID-19 in Bangladesh. However, our research concludes that policies must account for gender disparities and male and female vulnerability across multiple dimensions to achieve inclusive and effective pandemic prevention and recovery.
... 9 Individual economic vulnerability is captured by having experienced an adverse employment status change since January 2020-for example, from full-time to parttime employment or from part-time employment to unemployment. Our measure resembles the measure used in another study of employment status during the pandemic (Reichelt et al. 2021). Participants who experienced an adverse employment status change between January and May, but who regained employment by October, are still considered economically vulnerable, because they lost income for some period of time since January (this describes 30 participants, 1.4% of our May sample). ...
Full-text available
Asian Americans became targets of increasingly hostile behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. What motivated this? Fears of contagion arising from a behavioral immune system may have motivated hostility toward Asian Americans, especially among those Americans vulnerable to COVID-19. Additionally, stigmatizing rhetoric from right-wing figures may have legitimated anti-Asian behavior among those Americans who held stronger anti-Asian sentiments to begin with or who were more receptive to right-wing rhetoric. We explore these possibilities using a behavioral game with a representative sample of Americans at two points: in May and October 2020. Participants were partnered with a U.S.- or Chinese-born American in a give-or-take dictator game. The average American discriminated against Chinese-born Americans in May but not October 2020, when China was no longer a COVID-19 hotspot. But among Republicans, who may have held stronger anti-Asian sentiments to begin with and who were likely more receptive to right-wing rhetoric, discrimination—that is, differential treatment—was both stronger in May compared to non-Republicans and persisted into October 2020. Notably, Americans who were more vulnerable to COVID-19 were not especially likely to discriminate.
Full-text available
Knjiga donosi znanstvene radove koji istražuju učinke pandemije bolesti COVID-19 na živote stanovnika u dobi od 50 i više godina u 27 Europskih zemlja i Izraelu. U radovima se upotrebljavaju podaci iz studije SHARE (Istraživanje o zdravlju, starenju i umirovljenju u Europi). Poseban naglasak je na podacima iz dva istraživanja "SHARE Corona", provedenih pomoću telefonske ankete u sklopu osmog i devetog vala studije SHARE.
The sudden and unanticipated shocks to employment and the almost total retreat into the domestic sphere caused by the COVID‐19 lockdowns provide a unique opportunity to explore the resilience of the three classical theoretical paradigms of the gendered division of labor within couples, that is, the time availability theory, the relative resource theory, and the “doing gender” perspective. Accordingly, this article analyzes how socioeconomic differences shaped the gendered division of labor during the first lockdown in France. We use a mixed‐methods approach that combines representative quantitative data drawn from the Epidemiology and Living Conditions (EpiCOV) survey of EpiCOV in France during the COVID‐19 pandemic and qualitative data from in‐depth interviews of French families collected throughout the spring 2020 lockdown. Over the period, the heavy domestic and parental workload and its division between partners were mainly determined by employment status. However, the influence of time availability on the division of labor was mitigated by the doing gender mechanisms, whatever the partners' relative resources. The gender division of housework and childcare persisted, and the tasks performed differed, parenting tasks especially. Even if highly‐educated mothers were able to negotiate their partner's investment in domestic and parental work, the division of labor remained unequal. Mothers remained in charge of organizing housework and childcare, and this may have altered their subjective experience of lockdown, especially for those embedded in the most egalitarian configurations.
Based on the analysis of 20 in-depth interviews held with employed women in Zimbabwe, this paper uses Moser’s ‘triple role framework’ to make sense of how they juggled production, reproduction and community roles while working from home during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns. It finds that although the enmeshing of the domestic and work spaces yielded different gendered dynamics for women, like ‘role overload’ and the ‘confusion of priorities’, destabilised gender relations and other challenges they faced were primarily perpetuated by patriarchy, hegemony and other dominant gender cultures. Men and women are, therefore, each differently associated with and differently valued in space.
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of employees worldwide to perform their full-time job tasks remotely from home. creative performance is considered a desirable work outcome expected by organizations, the present study investigated whether the work-family and family-work conflicts mediate the relationship between job conditions experienced by employees while working from home and their creative performance. The study, carried out in Sri Lanka, featured a sample of employees in white-collar or professional positions who carried on with their full-time jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic working from home. It was found that job conditions (work characteristics, work environment and technical support) significantly negatively related to both work-family conflict and family-work conflict. In addition, the results supported the mediation hypothesis.
Full-text available
Die Studie gibt einen Überblick über die Größenordnungen der von der Schließung von Kindertagesstätten und Schulen betroffenen Elterngruppen sowie der Veränderungen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt in den Monaten des Lockdowns. Im Anschluss werden vier Themenbereiche, die während der Krise an Relevanz gewannen, näher betrachtet: Eltern in systemrelevanten Berufen, Homeoffice als Lösung, Arbeitsteilung zwischen Frau und Mann sowie psychologische Folgen der Krise für Eltern.
Full-text available
Objective: To contribute to the discussion about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender (in)equality. Background: We focus on a core aspect of gender (in)equality in intimate relationships, namely couples’ division of housework and childcare, and whether this has changed during the Corona crisis. Method: Our descriptive analysis is based on pre-release data from the German Family Panel (pairfam; Wave 12) and its supplementary Corona web-survey (n=3,108). Results: We observe no fundamental changes in established aggregate-level patterns of couples’ division of labor, but some shift towards the extremes ('traditional' and 'role reversal') of the distribution. Regarding changes within couples, there is an almost equal split between those in which the female partner’s share in housework and childcare increased and those in which it decreased. Particularly in previously more egalitarian arrangements, a substantial proportion of women is now more likely to be primarily responsible for everything. If male partners increased their relative contribution to housework and childcare, they rarely moved beyond the threshold of an equal split. Changes in employment hours were associated with adaptations of men's, but not women's, relative contribution to domestic and family responsibilities. Conclusion: Our findings neither support the notion of a 'patriarchal pandemic', nor do they indicate that the Corona crisis might have fostered macro-level trends of gender convergence. We rather observe heterogeneous responses of couples to the 'Corona shock'.
Full-text available
We present real time survey evidence from the UK, US and Germany showing that the immediate labor market impacts of Covid-19 differ considerably across countries. Employees in Germany, which has a well-established short-time work scheme, are substantially less likely to be affected by the crisis. Within countries, the impacts are highly unequal and exacerbate existing inequalities. Workers in alternative work arrangements and who can only do a small share of tasks from home are more likely to have lost their jobs and suffered falls in earnings. Women and less educated workers are more affected by the crisis.
US workers receive unemployment benefits if they lose their job, but not for reduced working hours. In alignment with the benefits incentives, we find that the labor market responded to COVID‐19 and related closure‐policies mostly on the extensive (12 pp outright job loss) margin. Exploiting timing variation in state closure‐policies, difference‐in‐differences (DiD) estimates show, between March 12 and April 12, 2020, employment rate fell by 1.7 pp for every 10 extra days of state stay‐at‐home orders (SAH), with little effect on hours worked/earnings among those employed. Forty percentage of the unemployment was due to a nationwide shock, rest due to social‐distancing policies, particularly among “non‐essential” workers.
COVID-19 has uprooted many aspects of parents' daily routines, from their jobs to their childcare arrangements. In this paper, we provide a novel description of how parents in England living in two-parent opposite-gender families are spending their time under lockdown. We find that mothers' paid work has taken a larger hit than that of fathers', on both the extensive and intensive margins. We find that mothers are spending substantially longer in childcare and housework than their partners and that they are spending a larger fraction of their paid work hours having to juggle work and childcare. Gender differences in the allocation of domestic work cannot be straightforwardly explained by gender differences in employment rates or earnings. Very large gender asymmetries emerge when one partner has stopped working for pay during the crisis: mothers who have stopped working for pay do far more domestic work than fathers in the equivalent situation do.
The nature and scale of the shocks to the demand for, and the supply of, home childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic provide a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of the division of home labour and the determinants of specialization within the household. We collected real-time data on daily lives to document the impact of measures to control COVID-19 on UK families with children under the age of 12. We document that these families have been doing the equivalent of a working week in childcare, with mothers bearing most of the burden. The additional hours of childcare done by women are less sensitive to their employment than they are for men, leaving many women juggling work and (a lot more) childcare, with likely adverse effects on their mental health and future careers. However, some households, those in which men have not been working, have taken greater steps towards an equal allocation, offering the prospect of sharing the burden of childcare more equally in the future.
School and daycare closures due to the COVID‐19 pandemic have increased caregiving responsibilities for working parents. As a result, many have changed their work hours to meet these growing demands. In this study, we use panel data from the U.S. Current Population Survey to examine changes in mothers’ and fathers’ work hours from February through April, 2020, the period of time prior to the widespread COVID‐19 outbreak in the U.S. and through its first peak. Using person‐level fixed effects models, we find that mothers with young children have reduced their work hours four to five times more than fathers. Consequently, the gender gap in work hours has grown by 20 to 50 percent. These findings indicate yet another negative consequence of the COVID‐19 pandemic, highlighting the challenges it poses to women's work hours and employment.