Women are doing even more unpaid work because of coronavirus, new research by UN Women has found.

Data pulled from 38 countries globally found that women are shouldering the burden of extra child care and additional domestic chores made necessary by the pandemic.

Women globally already did considerably more unpaid work around the home than men. In the UK, women in the UK did 1.8 times as much as men even before the pandemic hit.

This is a more unequal gender split than in the US (1.6 times as much), France (1.7 times as much), Canada (1.5 times as much) and Germany (1.6 times as much).

In lower and middle-income countries, the situation is often even more pronounced: women in China do 2.6 times as much unpaid work, while women in Ghana do 3.4 times as much. In Egypt, women do 9.2 times as much, according to UN Women figures.

Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, warned that this divide is being widened across the globe by coronavirus, telling the BBC: “If it was more than three times as much as men before the pandemic, I assure you that number has at least doubled.”

She also said it was “more alarming” still that women aren’t going back to work because of the pandemic – even in the world’s most industrialised countries.

“In the month of September alone, in the US, something like 865,000 women dropped out of the labour force compared to 200,000 men, and most of that can be explained by the fact that there was a care burden and there’s nobody else around,” she said.

Along with increased levels of domestic violence and reduced access to abortion services, it’s yet another way in which the pandemic has been hitting women hardest since March.

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