Posts on UK
Blogs on UK
The UK’s COVID response has had a difficult relationship with women. On the one hand, the development of a job retention scheme offered women (and men) furlough at 80% pay, which was particularly pertinent to women who otherwise might have had to take unpaid leave or lose their job as a consequence of COVID lockdowns and school closures, having absorbed majority of childcare and home school activities. Moreover, the Secretary of State for Health overturned abortion legislation in March to allow for medical abortion medication to be taken at home with an online or phone consultation with a physician, instead of needing to access a clinic.
However, simultaneously, there has been no female representation in the government COVID taskforce, the government has failed to publish its Equality Impact Assessment of COVID policy, despite being required to do this for all policy by law, and ceased gender pay gap reporting requirements. The sectors which have been reopened as part of the exit strategy, such as construction and manufacturing are male dominated, and there has been little regard for the childcare sector, predominantly female, which is on the brink of a collapse as a result of lockdown orders.