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A vendor walks through a market in Ubud, Bali. A new report by UN Women reveals how COVID-19 exposes women’s vulnerability to economic shocks and deepens inequality that has existed in Indonesia since before the pandemic.

UN report exposes women’s vulnerability to economic shocks amid COVID-19 pandemic

JAKARTA THE JAKARTA POST) -- A new report by UN Women reveals how COVID-19 exposes women’s vulnerability to economic shocks and deepens inequality that has existed in Indonesia since before the pandemic, which is likely to reverse progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report titled “Counting the costs of COVID-19, assessing the impact on gender and the achievement of the SDGs in Indonesia” was released on Friday. It is based on a survey sent via SMS through Indosat Ooredoo’s network to randomly selected mobile users in April and July 2020.
It shows that lockdowns and other measures applied to contain the virus in Indonesia had a sizeable effect on the economy. However, women, who largely depend on income from family businesses, have seen substantial cuts -- as many as 82 percent of them noted drops in this income source.
Although 80 percent of men saw similar cuts, evidence suggests that men in Indonesia benefited from a wider range of income sources. Moreover, the second-most common income source for women, subsidies and other forms of government support, also declined faster for women than for men; 24 percent of women noted drops, compared to 20 percent of men. 
The report also shows that only 52 percent of women were employed prior to the crisis, compared to 72 percent of men. An estimated 82 percent of them were engaged in informal employment.  Since the onset of COVID-19, informal-sector workers have been losing their jobs much faster 46 percent of the male and 39 percent of the female informal workers have lost their jobs. For those who lack unemployment benefits, this can have catastrophic consequences.
Among the informal-sector workers, an estimated 63 percent of the men do not receive unemployment benefits or other forms of government support compared to 80 per cent of the women. Furthermore, the increased domestic and care workload associated with COVID-19 may also push people to work fewer paid hours. More than half of the working population (59 percent of women and 57 percent of men) have seen reductions in paid work time since the crisis began.
This results in pay and income cuts for many 64 percent of the men and 49 percent of the women noted reductions in income from paid jobs.  The report also shows that the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected women’s mental and emotional health. Even though health data on contagion and death rates reveal that men are more likely to both contract and die from the virus, an analysis of data on mental health shows that women are disproportionately more likely to note increases in stress and anxiety since the spread of COVID-19. 


(Latest Update October 26, 2020)

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