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Women’s average working hours have been less affected than men’s, with women who do not have children now working longer hours than ever before.
In contrast to predictions of a “shecession” at the start of the pandemic, research published today by the Resolution Foundation found important distinctions between parents and non-parents emerging at different phases of the pandemic.
Many initially predicted that women would face a more severe labour market hit during the pandemic because they were more likely to work in low-paying, badly-affected sectors such as retail, and because women with children were more likely to be impacted by school closures.
However, the foundation’s quarterly Labour Market Outlook found that while the situation for working mothers has been difficult, over the year of the crisis a different picture has emerged for women as a whole.
The employment rate among men has fallen by 2.4% since the start of the crisis, driven by a sharp fall in self-employment, compared to a 0.8% fall for women. Full-time female employment has actually increased over the course of the crisis.
While working hours have fallen during the crisis, by the start of 2021 average working hours among women who do not have children actually reached a record high, up by 5% since the start of the pandemic.
Taking these hours and employment trends together, the researcher’s analysis found that the fall in women’s total hours worked has been around one-third smalle