With Irish women already battling for work-life balance, Chambers Ireland warns of a worsened gender-wide pay gap that could emerge from pandemic.
New European research shows that the Covid-19 pandemic is intensifying challenges for women entrepreneurs and business owners, with women in Ireland being impacted harder than their European counterparts in terms of work-life balance.
The research by the European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EuroChambres) indicates that the Covid-19 confinement measures have heightened several pre-existing obstacles for female entrepreneurs.
“Throughout the past year, research has indicated that the impact of the pandemic has been felt more strongly by women”
The survey of 536 female-led businesses across Europe, found that 46pc of respondents noted that remote working, imposed by pandemic restrictions, meant they had to take on more home duties.
51pc of respondents noted that their work-life balance had been strongly or severely impacted in a negative sense.
Looking at the Irish data specifically, 57pc of female entrepreneurs noted that remote working made it more difficult to carry our caring and home duties. This figure is more than 10pc higher than their European counterparts.
Work-life balance of women in workplace worsens in pandemic
“Throughout the past year, research has indicated that the impact of the pandemic has been felt more strongly by women,” said Chambers Ireland CEO and deputy president of EuroChambres Ian Talbot.
“A workplace that places gender equality at the heart of its operations is a workplace which is flexible and supportive of working families”
“This ranges from part-time workers who have lost their jobs, to frontline workers in health and essential services. We are also conscious that increasing amounts of data is pointing to the fact that the work-life balance of women in the workplace has been negatively impacted.”
Talbot said the research evidences what he and his colleagues have been hearing from many of our members throughout the past year, “which is that women in the workplace have been more likely to carry the weight of caring responsibilities and home duties during restrictions.
“As we approach International Women’s Day, our message to Government and policymakers is that they must ensure the long-term impact of the pandemic does not result in a permanently wider gender pay gap.
“Flexible working, parenting equality and investment in affordable childcare must be at the centre of the National Economic Plan and the Government’s response to the recovery.
“Our message to our own members and employers is that we must work even harder to ensure family-friendly work policies are a bigger part of the workplace. While schools and childcare have started to re-open, flexibility and support for working families will remain a necessity.
“A workplace that places gender equality at the heart of its operations is a workplace which is flexible and supportive of working families. As we approach International Women’s Day, we must ensure that this message is heard loud and clear,” urged Talbot.
By John Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published: 4 March 2021