Letters: The lockdown is turning back the clock on women’s lives in Britain

SIR – We are concerned that the long-term impact on women is being overlooked in the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

We’re not denying that men have been disproportionately affected by the virus itself, but evidence shows the damage done to women in the UK during the pandemic could last for years – and set them back decades.

New research from the Fawcett Society and the Women’s Budget Group has already found that the response to the pandemic has disproportionately negatively impacted women across all sectors and ages.

According to the Resolution Foundation, women are more likely than men to work in sectors that have been closed during the pandemic. Mothers are nearly 50 percent more likely than fathers to have either lost their jobs or quit, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

One in four women who have been pregnant or on maternity leave during the pandemic have been treated unfairly at work – being singled out for layoff or furlough. Women are also more likely to care for an older relative, according to Carers UK. More and more working mothers are having to take unpaid leave or voluntary leave to care for family members during lockdown.

The death rate from Covid-19 among black, Asian and ethnic women is up to twice that of white men.

The lockdown will delay closing the gender pay gap for a long time. Women lose income and pension contributions. But it’s not just financial hardship. During the lockdown, demand for Refuge’s national domestic violence hotline has increased by 66 per cent.

Female athletes also face an uncertain future. On March 14, the last women’s team sports tournament took place in this country. But the focus so far has been on male-dominated sports.

Lockdown is turning back the clock in the lives of women in the UK. We call on the government to take action to stop this reversal.

We call on the Government to give assurances that women are meaningfully represented in lockdown policy decisions and that the impact of policies on women’s lives is always fully assessed.

Lady Helena Morrissey
Baroness Bakewell (laboratory)
Jane Shepherdson

Chair, My Wardrobe HQ
Maria Portas
Sonia Friedman OBE
Jew Kelly

Founder, the WOW Foundation
Baroness Altmann (Con)
Caroline Nokes MP (Con)

Chair of the Special Committee on Women and Equality
Nikola Mendelsohn
Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook
Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con)
Brenda Trenowden

Global Co-Chair, 30% Club
Anna Franke
CEO, The Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
Founder, Mumsnet
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill
Ama Agbeze
Denise Lewis
Gaby Logan
Nimco Ali

Co-founder and CEO, The Five Foundation
Amber Rudd
Catherine McKinnell MP (Lab)

Chairman of the Petitions Committee
Sam Smethers
Executive Director, Fawcett Society
Mary Ann Stephenson
Director of the Women’s Budget Group
Lady Heather Rabbatts
Emma Hayes

Manager, Chelsea Women’s Football Club
Judy Murray
Tracey Neville
Helen Pankhurst
Harriett Baldwin MP (Con)
Clive Betts MP (Lab)

Chair of the Committee on Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ben Beadle
Chief Executive, The National Residential Landlords Association
Tamara Gillan
Founder, WealthiHer
Barry O’Dwyer
Managing Director, Royal London
sian fisherman
Chief Executive, Chartered Insurance Institute
Caroline Abrahams
Charity Director, Age UK
Christina Armstrong
Laura Bates

Founder, EveryDay Sexism
Rosalind Bragg
Director, Maternity Campaign
Joeli Brearley
Founder and CEO, pregnant, then screwed up
dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu
Cherie Blair QC
Pinky Lilani

Founder, Women of the future
Jo Fairley
Co-founder of Green & Black’s
Bianca Miller Cole
Jessica Fellowes
Serena Guthrie
Alice is alive

Author, The Body Bible and Everyday Fitness
Jacqui Oatley
Frances O’Grady

General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress
Siobhain McDonagh MP (Lab)
Barbara Keeley MP (Lab)
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs

Chief Executive, Economic Abuse Survival
Polly Neat
Chief Executive, Shelter
Helen Walker
Chief Executive, Carers UK
jane guardian
Squad Leader, Refuge
Nicky Norman
Deputy CEO, Women’s Aid
Jane van Zyl
CEOs, working-class families
Andrew Formika
CEO, Jupiter Wealth Management
Peter Harrison
CEO, Schroders
Moira O’Neill
Head of Personal Finance, Interactive Investor
Lisa Wainwright
Chief Executive, Sport and Recreation Alliance
Nathan Bostock
CEO, Santander UK
Carol Knight
Chief Operations Officer, The Investing and Savings Alliance

Rhodes Scholarships for Color Blind People Letters: The lockdown is turning back the clock on women’s lives in Britain

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