Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact Contents


1.The extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances occasioned by covid-19 compelled the Government to take extensive measures to support and protect the population, often at great speed. Whilst the health and economic crisis affected everyone, we quickly became aware of the particular and often disproportionate economic impact on individuals and groups who may already be vulnerable, marginalised or overlooked. At a time of national emergency, it was vital that the crisis response did not leave anyone behind. At the end of March 2020, we launched our inquiry “Unequal Impact: Coronavirus (covid-19) and the impact on people with protected characteristics”.1

2.This ‘umbrella inquiry’ received over 500 submissions from a diverse range of stakeholders. Having carefully considered that evidence, we decided to focus on three sub-inquiries based on recurring themes. In this sub-inquiry, we wanted to understand how the economic impact of coronavirus has impacted men and women differently; for example, because of existing gendered economic inequalities or the over-representation of women in certain types of work, and also because of actions the Government has taken.


3.In addition to the numerous submissions our umbrella inquiry received which addressed this area, we received 47 submissions to this sub-inquiry. We heard oral evidence from Maternity Action, Women’s Budget Group, Gingerbread, the National Hair and Beauty Federation, the Trades Union Congress, the Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years, as well as a number of academics and experts on the economy, labour market and workplace. In our final evidence session, we heard from the Minister for Equalities and Exchequer Secretary, Kemi Badenoch MP; the Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, and the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute; a list of all witnesses and contributors of published evidence is listed at the end of this report. We also want to thank our Specialist Advisers Professor Abigail Adams-Prassl2 and Dr Alison Parken3 for their advice, expertise and significant contributions.

1 Women and Equalities Committee, ‘Unequal impact: Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the impact on people with protected characteristics’, accessed 12 January 2021

2 Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford

3 Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Cardiff University

Published: 9 February 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement