Why Returning To Work Post COVID-19 Is Even More Crucial For Women

The numbers are staggering.

With restrictions being eased on a weekly basis, and lockdowns slowly lifting, Australians are starting to see a clear light at the end of the tunnel of the coronavirus crisis. However, when it comes to work – and particularly the employment of women – much of the damage from COVID-19 has already been done.

Last week, it was reported that the jobless rate in Australia had hit the highest level since September 2015. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) added that between March and April 2020, full-time employment had decreased by 220,500 and part-time employment by 373,800 due to COVID-19 lockdowns. That equates to an overall drop in employment of 7.5% in just over one month.

They’re pretty devastating figures, and to make matters worse, the ABS also found that more women dropped out of employment than men. Between March and April, female employment decreased by 8.1%, while male employment fell by 6.2%.

In an interview with SBS News, associate professor Alysia Blackham said, “women were already overrepresented in insecure work and are more likely to be on casual contracts with no paid entitlements, so there is no obligation to employ them on an ongoing basis or ensure certain hours.”

Speaking of female empowerment, hear Sandra Sully speak about her own experiences below:

The closure of schools has also had an impact on female employment as more women are taking on the role of caregiver, teacher and daycare worker making the hunt for new jobs harder. For single mums, it gets even more difficult. 

Sadly, it’s not only the employment of Australian women that the economic downturn is affecting, either. In the U.S, more than 700,000 jobs were lost in the first wave of layoffs and nearly 60% of those jobs were held by women. 

In London, female employees under 25 were among the worst affected due to non-essential business closures, and women of all ages were about a third more likely to be affected than men. 

Sophie Walker, the chief executive of charity The Young Women’s Trust said, “young women are let down by an education system that still funnels them into the jobs society pays and values less; they are let down by sexist workplaces and unfair parenting policies.”

While we are starting to see Australian businesses reopen as safely as possible, there needs to be continued focus on benefits like JobKeeper and JobSeeker to ensure women – and all those affected by COVID-19 – are supported in the journey back to work. 

Women have fought so hard to make progress in the world of workplace gender equality, we can’t go backwards now.

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The 'New Normal' Is That This Virus May Never Go Away, WHO Warns

"There are no promises in this."

As restrictions begin to ease and lockdowns start to lift across the country, we’re starting to see a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. However, the World Heath Organisation (WHO_ is warning that coronavirus “may never go away.”

During an online briefing this week, WHO’s emergencies expert Mike Ryan said, “It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.”

“I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear,” he said. “I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be.”

According to Yahoo! News, “more than half of humanity” has been forced into lockdown since coronavirus began, but Ryan urged that it’s not enough. “There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers.”

For those counting on a vaccine as the miracle COVID-19 ‘cure,’ Ryan described the prospect as a “massive moonshot”. 

Hear all about what life after lockdown might look like in Australia below:

7 News reports that “more than 100 potential vaccines are being developed” right now, including several clinical trials, but according to WHO – vaccines can exist for illnesses without completely eliminating them. Take measles, for example. 

The Johns Hopkins University states that as of May 13th, there have been over 4.2M cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and tragically over 290,000 people have lost their lives to the deadly virus. 

In Australia alone, there have been over 6,900 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 98 fatalities – but the pandemic is also having a huge impact on our economy, and employment. Today, Scott Morrison announced that almost 600,000 jobs have been lost in Australia.

However – progress has been made. The Guardian states that according to experts, “growth in new coronavirus cases in Australia is slowing, likely due to the decrease in travel-related cases.” But as we’ve heard from multiple medical experts and the World Health Organisation, there is still a long way to go. 

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic.” By following the rules of social distancing, we can keep each other and ourselves safe to stop the spread of this devastating virus. 

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NSW Pubs Are Reopening, But Don’t Start Planning A Post-COVID Crawl Just Yet

You'll have to wait a little lager.

Last week, the Australian government introduced a three-step framework to continue the country’s COVID-19 restrictions – as part of that, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that pubs and clubs in the state will reopen from this Friday, the 15th of May – but don’t get too excited.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet confirmed that pubs and clubs – as well as cafes and restaurants – will be able to open, however they must adhere to strict social distancing rules with a limit of 10 customers at any given time. Hear all the details below:

“We appreciate that many large venues won’t be viable and won’t choose to open but it’s only up to 10 people per venue,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters. “Even if there [are] multiple rooms or multiple facilities in a venue, it’s only up to 10 people in one venue.”

Unfortunately, that means you’ll have to put your epic post-COVID pub crawl on hold for the time being. 

Bars and gaming facilities will also remain closed, however table service of booze – ordered with a meal – will be allowed.

The question is: is opening for only 10 customers a viable business option for NSW pubs and clubs?

“Some venues will have to make a fairly serious business consideration in regard to whether they do open,” John Green, the Director of Liquor and Policing for the Australian Hotels Association told TODAY. “There are a lot of people out of work, there are expenses. For an average pub in NSW, it’s costing them $30-35,000 to stay closed.”

“Ten patrons isn’t many but it’s the first step in a long process getting trading back up and running,” he said.

As well as the easing of restrictions, grassroots campaign Local Rain Check is helping small businesses survive the pandemic downturn. The website allows customers to purchase a ‘rain check’ for their favourite pub, restaurant or cafe – the money goes straight to the business owner, and in return, you get a gift voucher you can redeem after the restrictions are lifted. 

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on Australia’s hospitality industry, but these initiatives and our hard work to get those restrictions lifted is a step in the right direction. 

As of the 13th of May, there are 6,975 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia but only 13 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours. Together, we can continue flattening that curve, and staying healthy and safe to ensure Australia returns to normality as soon as possible.

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