Italy: During COVID-19, women continue to face unequal share of housework and childcare, resulting in potentially negative impact on formal employment

Author: VoxEU, Centre for Economic Policy Research (UK), Published on: 22 June 2020

Women’s work, housework, and childcare before and during COVID-19, 19 June 2020

The social distancing measures adopted to slow the spread of COVID-19 have placed a particular burden on families. Using survey data collected in April 2020 from a representative sample of Italian women, this column asks how working from home – combined with school closures – has affected the working arrangements, housework, and childcare provisions of couples in which both partners are employed. Most of the additional responsibilities have fallen to women, though childcare activities are shared more equally than housework...

Our regression analyses confirm the imbalance in the amount of time spent by men and women on family work, more in housework than in childcare. They also show that working women with young children, particularly those aged zero to five, are affected by bearing the excess burden to a greater extent...

These results may have long-term implications, and implications that are potentially negative for women, especially if both the labour market crisis and school closures persist... The consequences of COVID-19 on female labour market outcomes risk being amplified by the unequal intrahousehold allocation of extra work (housework and childcare) created by the emergency.

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