Women tend to work in lower-paid jobs on average, with average hourly earnings about 10% lower than those for men (not adjusting for job type and the like). That means that the income effects of this crisis have been uneven too.
In aggregate, incomes have been cushioned by things like the wage subsidy and the blow has been nowhere near as bad as it could have been. But some people are nonetheless much worse off than they were before, and so far the impact appears to be skewed towards those with lower-paid jobs.
Why have women been so significantly affected?
There appear to be two parts to the story (figure 2).
First, it partly reflects industry impacts of this crisis. A greater number of retail, accommodation and food services jobs are held by women (56% pre-COVID), making them more vulnerable to the industry-specific effects of the crisis.
Healthcare and social assistance jobs have also been hard hit, with more jobs in this industry held by women (83%).
Second, in a number of other industries – transport and logistics, arts and recreation services, and professional and other services – job losses have been felt disproportionately by women.
It’s possible that this reflects the nature of the jobs held by women in these industries, but it’s hard to say how much that might matter. Regardless, the point stands: women have been more affected, and the pattern is stark.
It is also worth noting that job losses are not being felt more acutely by young people who are working part time, for whom, say, an after-school job may not matter all that much from a wellbeing perspective.
Younger people (15-24 year olds) are now less likely to be employed (especially teenagers). But this has been seen alongside a significant increase in young people who are now choosing not to work while they study, rather than an increase in unemployment.
Job losses have also been dominated by those working full time, with an increase in part-time employment since March. For affected women, the impact of job losses do not appear to be at the margin, a few hours here or there. There has been a decline in employment amongst people working 30 hours a week or more.