Equal Gender Pay Set Back a Generation by Pandemic, WEF Says
People hold smartphones while walking past in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Equal Gender Pay Set Back a Generation by Pandemic, WEF Says

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The pandemic has rolled back years of progress on gender parity for pay, making women wait a generation longer to earn the same as men.

That’s according to a report by the World Economic Forum, which found that at the current pace it will take 135 years for men and women to achieve parity, and 268 years to get the same paycheck for similar work. It echoes concerns raised by Bank of England policy maker Silvana Tenreyro about the impact of Covid-19 on women’s careers.

While Covid-19 has accelerated automation, lockdowns have hit female-dominated sectors hardest and left women doing more household chores, sapping their productivity.

The proportion of women in skilled professions has continued to increase. Separate research by the jobs website LinkedIn found that women were less likely to be hired for leadership roles, reversing two years of progress.

One solution could be “skills-based hiring,” where recruiters focus on the potential candidates show rather than their direct work experience and formal qualifications. Measures like that are necessary in sectors like technology. Only 14% of people in cloud computing are female.

Women also are falling behind men in terms of political participation in the workforce in several large countries. Women hold only about a quarter of parliamentary seats and just over a fifth of ministerial positions worldwide. However, gender gaps in education and health have almost closed.

The WEF called on business leaders and policy makers to embed gender parity into their plans for the economic recovery from the pandemic.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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