Speaking at the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee, Sinn Féin TD for Longford Westmeath Sorca Clarke, has called on the government to address the disproportionate impact Covid has had on women.
Teachta Clarke said:
“It is an undisputed fact that the pandemic has had a more negative impact on women than men.
“A report published last summer by McKinsey & Company described how women globally have been 1.8 times as likely as men to lose their jobs because of the pandemic. Workers in industries such as retail, hospitality and residential care are predominantly women and those are the areas that have suffered the heaviest job losses to date.
“There is no doubt that although women have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, they will also be the backbone of the recovery in their communities, circles and environments. For that to happen, women’s inclusion, representation, rights, social and economic outcomes, equality and protection must be at the core of national and global responses.
“Financial stimulus packages and social assistance programmes must be based on greater equality, opportunities and social protection for women. We must not allow Covid to be used as an excuse to reverse the little progress on gender equality that has been made. Rather, it should become the catalyst to create something new that focuses on these pre-existing conditions and says “No more”.
“While the eyes of governments nationally and internationally are on these inequalities, there will never be a better time to address them or to implement policies that go to the core of what created the inequalities in the first place.
“Covid simply shone a light on the extent of the inequalities that exist, inequalities that were there in my mother’s time, my grandmother’s time and my great-grandmother’s time. That is what I think needs to happen now.
“When we look to the future and policies, we need to look to training, education and employment opportunities for women, the protection of activists and political representation.
“It is only when these issues are dealt with will we be in a position to call ourselves a society of equals.”