B.C. women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19: report

Everyone’s been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who don’t believe in it. But not everyone has sufferred equally. 

A study released today by the BC Women’s Health Foundation, in partnership with Pacific Blue Cross, concluded that COVID has disproportionately affected women in B.C.

The report, the first in a series called Unmasking Gender Inequity, found that B.C. women lost 60 percent more jobs than men in March 2020, increasing the effective unemployment rate for women in the province to 26.5 percent in March and 28 percent in April.

Women also took on more of the caregiving responsibilities—working mothers in B.C., aged 24 to 55, lost 26 percent of their work hours in April, compared with 14 percent of work hours lost by working fathers.  

In addition, more than 50 percent of the province’s female workforce is employed in industries that were more adversely affected by COVID, such as health care, education, retail, and accommodation and food services.

“This report is designed to start a conversation not just about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on women’s health today but in the future, too,” said UBC economics professor Dr. Marina Adshade, who collaborated on the report.

“The physical, mental, economic and emotional consequences for women are, and will be, staggering, yet these realities will affect us all; our future generations, our organizations, our health-care system and our wider economy.”