Covid-19: What impacts on women’s working conditions?

In terms of women’s work and the promotion of gender equality in the workplace, what does the health crisis related to the coronavirus pandemic tell us? In the face of Covid-19, we are not all equal! Some inequalities between women and men in the workplace have widened during the long months of this pandemic. This bitter observation has been emphasized throughout the world. The health crisis has, in fact, made even more visible certain inequalities in working conditions and exposure to professional risks.

Morocco, where the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the economic and social situation, is no exception. Impacted, businesses have a direct impact on jobs and working conditions, as well as on gender inequalities. This is what emerges from the analysis supervised by the MCA-Morocco Agency under the “Support for the promotion of gender equity in the workplace” component of the “Employment” project to identify the impact of this crisis on women’s labour market participation and the promotion of gender equality in the workplace.This qualitative analysis revealed the following three major findings:

  • Women are over-represented in the jobs lost, because of the impact of the pandemic. And for good reason: the sectors most affected by the economic impact of the pandemic are the most feminized;
  • Work-life balance has emerged as a major challenge for women during school lockdowns and closures;
  • Alternatives to traditional ways of working, such as teleworking, adopted by some companies, have proven their relevance in preserving women’s jobs and, more generally, business activity.

In regards with this situation, recommendations have been made to improve the Professional Equality Trophy. These include:

  • Promote the concept of shared responsibility for reconciling family life – working life;
  • Encourage companies to take action against violence against women;
  • Promote an inter-sectional approach to professional equality;
  • Support the feminization of workers' representation bodies;
  • Promote gender literacy and professional equality in times of crisis.

Beyond the “Covid-19” context, the action of the MCA-Morocco Agency aims to foster the emergence of a new structural framework to sustain actions to promote gender equality in the workplace and greater participation of women in the labour market. In this regard, several recommendations have been made. They urge, among other things:

  • Create a Women’s Employment Observatory in Morocco;
  • Take measures to specifically protect women’s employment in line with the Recovery Plan, which aims to protect and formalize employment; 
  • Legislate on teleworking;
  • Take action to reduce the vulnerability of seasonal and non-sheltered (informal) workers.

By exposing the vulnerability of women and the gap in gender inequality in the workplace, the Covid-19 pandemic could ultimately be a great “opportunity” not to be missed in order to launch the necessary measures and actions.

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