Unequal burden: how the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to women’s workloads

The Most Revolutionary Act

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Alex Thornton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • COVID-19 restrictions mean both men and women spend longer doing jobs around the home.
  • Women have seen a larger increase in unpaid work than men.
  • Evidence shows that COVID-19 is reinforcing traditional social and cultural gender norms.
  • A new report for UN Women analyses data from 38 countries around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic downturn it has caused, have hit everyone hard. But the impact has not been spread equally. A new report by UN Women has found clear evidence that, although both genders have seen their unpaid workloads increase, women are bearing more of the burden than men.

a chart showing how childcare is divided between men and women
Women still do much more than men. Image: “Whose time to care?”, UN Women

Even before the pandemic, women…

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