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Feminist economic perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic

This article provides a contextual framework for understanding the gendered dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health, social, and economic outcomes. The pandemic has generated massive losses in lives, impacted people’s health, disrupted markets and livelihoods, and created profound reverberations in the home. In 112 countries that reported sex-disaggregated data on COVID-19 cases, men showed an overall higher infection rate than women, and an even higher mortality rate. However, women’s relatively high representation in sectors hardest hit by lockdown orders has translated into larger declines in employment for women than men in numerous countries. Evidence also indicates that stay-at-home orders have increased unpaid care workloads, which have fallen disproportionately to women. Further, domestic violence has increased in frequency and severity across countries. The article concludes that policy response strategies to the crisis by women leaders have contributed to more favorable outcomes compared to outcomes in countries led by men.


  • Women from lowest-income households and marginalized groups bore the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Globally, more women than men are employed in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

  • Essential and frontline workers at higher risk of exposure are predominantly women.

  • Migrant workers are especially vulnerable to job loss, benefit exclusions, and travel bans.

  • Countries with women leaders had more favorable outcomes during the pandemic.

Kabeer, N., Razavi, S., & van der Meulen Rodgers, Y. (2021). Feminist Economic Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Feminist Economics.

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