Managing Both Emotional and Physical Labour, Irish Women Have Borne the Brunt of Lockdowns’ Effects

Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash.

Women have lost a half-century of economic progress over the last fourteen months. Between facing increased domestic violence and a larger share of job losses, not to mention the challenges of managing office and school and daycare from home, there is a good chance women’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis will take longer and face a more erratic trajectory than general society’s. The long-term implications of this remain mostly speculative at this stage, but social thinkers and economists posit they might include an increase in the gender pay gap, a decrease in the percentage of women working outside the home, and a decrease in the birth rate. The Central Statistics Office offered an early glimpse into how the lived experience of gender dynamics became apparent in Ireland, even one month into the pandemic. The results of the survey from April 2020 showed marked differences in how men and women in Ireland were experiencing the pandemic mere weeks after the first lockdown began.

While men and women both widely reported being “extremely” concerned about the impacts of school closures and remote learning, women also reported being “extremely” concerned about their health, the health of those around them, and how to maintain social ties when the pathogen demands social distance. More women (9% versus 6% of men) also reported dealing with childcare issues, caring for a dependent or family member (21% versus 15% of men), and having difficulties working from home while the family was around (11% versus 9% of men). These findings back up a sense that many of us intuitively feel is true: the domestic gender norm that women tend to manage the household’s emotional labour: the basic physical and mental upkeep that makes the household run.

More takeaways from the survey below:

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