CNN asked the world’s richest nations how they plan to close the pandemic gender gap. Here’s what they said
The poll showed that an average of 60% of women in G7 nations feel their governments have failed to support them in dealing with changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also detailed the areas where women are particularly hurting at the moment.
Following the revelation, CNN asked the G7 governments what they plan to do about it.
Canada was the first to reply. Marci Ien, the country’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, said: “We know that gender equality and economic recovery are interconnected in so many ways. From the onset of the pandemic, we understood that women were disproportionately impacted, and we took immediate action to support them through a variety of policies and programs.”
Data from Ien’s office showed that at the start of the pandemic, job losses among women in Canada (-6.9%) were almost double that experienced among men (-3.7%) and school and daycare closures further impacted women’s ability to participate in the labor force or continue their own education. In June 2020, almost two-thirds (64.3%) of women reported that they mostly homeschooled or helped children with homework, while fewer than one in five men (18.5%) reported being mostly responsible for this.
Ien’s office also acknowledged that the pandemic had disproportionately affected minority women and amplified long-standing gender inequalities which had in turn, led to increased rates of some forms of gender-based violence.
Japan responded with a candid admission of how far their country lags behind on gender equity issues.
“In Japan, the number of women employed has declined greatly, and women find themselves placed in extremely difficult situations in terms of employment and living conditions. The number of domestic violence consultations has also increased, as has the number of women who committed suicide,” a spokesperson from the Japanese government’s Gender Equality Bureau told CNN.
“In this way, we recognize that the pandemic of Covid-19 has not only had a significant impact on the lives of people, but also highlighted once again how Japan lags far behind on gender equality,” they said, adding that putting women and girls at the center of their efforts to recover from Covid-19 will be a priority, as well as continued efforts to tackle structural issues such as the gender pay gap and unconscious bias in relation to gender roles.
“We have introduced tax incentives for businesses that take concrete steps towards equal pay and growth opportunities for women, for a total of 50 million euros per year. In order to support female entrepreneurship, we have allocated specific funds for start-ups and innovative projects led by women,” a statement from the government’s press office stated.
The Italian government in its statement however did not speak to the specific findings of CNN’s poll. In the poll, only 29% of women in Italy said they felt they received a good amount of support from both their local and national government.
Germany’s government replied to CNN’s request saying: “As a matter of principle the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizen, Women and Youth does not comment on studies or polls it was not involved in.”
The remaining G7 countries
France, the United Kingdom and the United States did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
More than two years after Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill, CNN’s poll clearly shows that a big gap remains between government platitudes to build a society where no woman is left behind and that actually translating into real change on the ground.
Story of the week
The women in a sleepy border town in Ukraine are refusing to leave — they want to fight instead.