The policy brief highlights the need to invest in female dominated sectors, such as the social services sector and calls for a gender-sensitive approach in the Covid-19 recovery, to achieve more gender equality and better work-life balance.
Gender equality is high on the EU’s policy agenda, and is one of the key principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its Action Plan. With the adoption of the Work–life Balance Directive in 2019, a set of legislative actions were introduced to improve access to family leave and flexible work arrangements.
Education, health and social services fields are among the most gender segregated sectors. Women still account for the majority of employment in education, human health and social care work (over 70 %). As for unpaid care work, in 2016, 38 % of women cared for children, grandchildren, older people or people with disabilities every day for 1 hour or more, compared to 25 % of men.
The COVID-19 crisis threatens the recent achievements in gender equality. Measures to contain the pandemic, such as nursery and school closures, put women more at risk of dropping out of the labour market and caused a dramatic rise in the amount of unpaid care being provided at home, leading to a general deterioration of work–life balance.
The policy brief highlights the need to ensure that the recovery measures are gender sensitive, by investing in female dominated sectors, such as the care sector. Investment is crucial to improve the attractiveness of the sector by addressing working conditions and pay issues, improving career prospects and bringing more men into the sector. In addition, high quality, accessible and affordable social services, such a childcare and long-term care, are key factors to improve work-life balance.
Access the full policy brief HERE.