How Gender and Racial Inequality is Impacting Work Conditions During a Pandemic

November 27, 2020

Written by: Kiko Kwok

Source: Pexels

In a Pew Research Center survey, we learn that “today’s young women are starting their careers better educated than their male counterparts.” Young working women today are also making more money relative to men their age than their mothers and grandmothers did. Attitudes regarding how society favors men over women have changed considerably as well.

That being said, despite the progression seen in the changing conditions of gender inequality in the workplace, the consequences as a result of COVID-19 pandemic have seemingly brought that all back to square one again. This is partially due to the fact that women are more likely to work in the “social sector”, or industries that require face-to-face interactions than men. With social distancing requirements that were enforced in early March, the economy of these industries were devastated, and employees were let go of as there is no option of working from home. Women are also paid less for doing the same job and men have easier access to achieving leadership roles within the workplace.  

Source: Pexels

As the pandemic worsened, schools were forced to shut down and naturally, children were obligated to adapt to the conditions of being home-schooled. Parents, mothers in particular, carried on the responsibility of caregiving and household chores. Data analyzed by the University of British Columbia says that among the reasons why moms are staying home is which parent makes more money. Needless to say, these circumstances have only increased the already saturated gender gap in the workplace. 

Source: Pexels

Not only is gender inequality hitting a new low, but racial inequality is equally as bad, if not worse. According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate for July was 16.2% for racialized Canadians compared with 9.3% for white Canadians.The study also showcased the disproportional scale of women and racialized communities in the workplace. In the United States, women of color are still largely jobless even after the increase of government jobs open to citizens since the pandemic.

Many have also resulted to applying for front-line “essential” jobs that require no qualifications in order for them to sustain a living for themselves and their families, all the while risking their lives from exposure to the virus. It is disheartening to say the least, for these issues to still be so prominent within the work force today. 

Source: Praxis Blog

With the reality that this “new normal” may continue in 2021, industries could potentially see a shortage of jobs. This will only continue to be an issue and we need to hold leaders, both in our workplaces and in our government, accountable for their actions; to ensure that the recovery from this pandemic will also address the gender and racial inequalities that exist in that recovery. 

Learn more and see how you can take action to improve gender and racial inequality in the workplace:

  1. Things Employers Can Do To Improve Gender Equality In The Workplace
  2. Women in the Workplace 2020
  3. Taking Steps to Eliminate Racism in the Workplace
  4. How Company Leaders Can Promote Racial Justice In The Workplace