Stats reveal women's jobs hit twice as hard by virus impact
WOMEN'S jobs are being wiped out twice as fast as men's in the COVID-19 crisis, sparking an urgent official plea for dads to take on more housework during the pandemic so their wives can focus on saving their careers.
The Sunday Mail can reveal Australia's women are emerging as the silent victims of the coronavirus economic catastrophe, because the worst-hit industries are female dominated and mums are being forced to shoulder the burden of homeschooling.
In just one month, more than 325,000 Australian women lost their jobs, compared to 269,000 men.
While in the week leading up to April 18, 1.9 per cent of female jobs vanished, compared to 1 per cent of male jobs.
Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash last night flagged a push for bosses to allow more men to work from home permanently so more women can get back into jobs, and the government's gender watchdog pleaded for blokes to do more chores at home during the COVID-19 crisis so their partner could concentrate on paid employment.
Women should be empowered after the pandemic eases to launch tough conversations with their partners and bosses about flexible workplaces that include more men working from home, the Federal Employment Minister has urged.
Senator Cash has conceded women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the first within the Morrison Government to flag there needed to be job programs that "specifically look at the needs of women are ready for when the economy re-opens".
But Senator Cash has also seized on anecdotal evidence that many men have realised the benefits of working from home and is using it as a launch pad to encourage a conversation about traditional roles - where men work long hours at the office and women, usually the primary carer, work fewer hours while juggling domestic duties.
ABS data shows nearly 300,000 women dropped out of Australia's labour force last month, compared to 191,800 men.
While men were more likely to keep their jobs but have their hours cut, with an extra 375,000 men regarded as being "underemployed'' - meaning they want to work longer hours - compared to an extra 228,000 underemployed women.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons said that as working from home becomes the new norm, men needed to find more time to pitch in with household chores often left to women.
She said that for every hour a man spends on housework, on average, a woman spends an hour and 46 minutes.
"If men take up working from home, that will give women more time to focus on rebuilding their careers if they choose to,'' Ms Lyons told The Sunday-Mail.
"In between meetings, (men) can put on a load of washing and hang it out or pick up the kids at school at 3pm and feed them before getting back to work.
"That will free up some of the 46 minutes that women have been missing out on and will allow them to focus their minds on getting better paid jobs or promotions, or concentrating on the job they're doing.
"I don't want a future where men wear the burden of being a breadwinner, and women bear the burden of running a home and trying to do a job as well.''
Gold Coast recruitment manager Cara Picken, 25, who lost her job when her employer shed staff in March, is living on JobSeeker welfare benefits for the first time in her career.
"I'm not a homebody, and I've always worked so it's a bit hard to adapt to being home looking at the walls,'' she said.
"But I don't believe women's lives will ever go back to my mother's generation - we have more equality now.''
Jobs lost in April 2020
Women 919,200 (up 40% in a year)
Men 896,900 (up 82% in a year)
Women 361,100 (up 9.4% in a year)
Men 462,200 (up 23% in a year)
Women - 298,000 left the labour force in April
Participation rate 58.4 per cent (down 2.9 percentage points)
Men - 191,800 left the labour force in April
Participation rate 68.9 per cent (down 1.9 percentage points)
Women's jobs fell by 1.9 per cent in week to 18 April
Men's jobs fell by 1 per cent in week to 18 April
Originally published as Stats reveal women hit twice as hard by virus impact