Article

Paid and unpaid work: the pandemic intensifies the phenomenon of double shift among women

Lídia Farré, Universitat de Barcelona, MOVE and IAE-CSIC; Libertad González, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona GSE
Project selected in the Call to support survey-based research projects on the impact of covid-19

The study on which this article is based analyses how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women. In order to do this, a survey was conducted among men and women with children under 13 years of age at two points in time: the period immediately prior to the declaration of the state of alarm, on 14 March 2020, and the period following lockdown and the first wave (November and December 2020). The aim of the study is to calculate the effects on gender inequality associated with the outbreak of the pandemic.
Key points
  • 1
       Taking into account both paid and unpaid work, the weekly working hours of women before the pandemic were 10 hours more than that of men (73 hours for women compared to 63 hours for men). Unpaid work accounted for 41% of men’s working hours and 66% of women’s working hours.
  • 2
       Following the first wave of the pandemic and lockdown, the gender gap in total hours worked increased to 16 hours (62 hours for the male population compared to 78 hours for the female population), because of the greater involvement of women in unpaid work (48 hours before lockdown compared to 54 hours after lockdown).
  • 3
       The greater job flexibility of women, alongside the presence of traditional social models, could explain this increase in the gender gap in the dedication to unpaid work.
  • 4
       The unequal sharing of family responsibilities may have significant costs for the job opportunities of women.

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