22 Aug 2022 by lbigmr

Gender implications of the Covid-19 crisis

In cooperation with the Austrian Chamber of Labour, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights is investigating the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on social human rights in Europe.

The Covid-19 crisis had a serious impact on almost all areas of life and led to a massive curtailment of social rights. At the same time, however, the pandemic also led to a renaissance of the welfare state, which is once again increasingly in the public eye.

In cooperation with the Austrian Chamber of Labour, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights is investigating the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on social human rights in Europe. The legal basis for this is provided by the social rights enshrined in the (revised) European Social Charter (RESC), which is binding under international law for Austria and 42 other European states.

The first of five policy briefs now available deals with the gender-specific consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. It highlights a further deterioration or creation of gender inequalities:

  • women shouldered much of the crisis as the “systemic” labour force
  • they were thus more exposed to the virus in the workplace
  • the increase in domestic violence further aggravated the situation
  • initial hopes of a more equitable distribution of care work were disappointed

In order to counteract the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis or the effects of future crises in the best possible way and to prevent a re-traditionalisation, concrete political measures are necessary. These must ensure, among other things, that

  • women are given special consideration in the course of economic recovery
  • women are adequately protected from discrimination and violence
  • the ultimate goal of equality in all areas of society is achieved

European good practice examples regarding social protection of persons in atypical or informal employment, (health) protection of “systemically important” workers, unpaid care work and domestic violence can provide relevant indications of what should be taken into account when implementing gender-sensitive measures.

The policy brief (in German) on “Social Rights in the Pandemic – Gender Implications of the Covid-19 Crisis” can be found in the download area.