- By Cai U. Ordinario @caiordinar­io

AS unpaid care and domestic work increased, more women in the Philippine­s lost or were prompted to quit their jobs during the pandemic, according to a study authored by a team from the United Nations Women (UN Women).

This was part of the findings of the study, titled “Gendered Impacts of Covid-19 in Asia and the Pacific: Early Evidence on Deepening Socioecono­mic Inequaliti­es in Paid and Unpaid Work.”

The study, authored by UN Women Research and Data Section Chief Papa A. Seck, Inter-regional Advisor on Gender Statistics Jessamyn O. Encarnacio­n, Statistici­an Cecilia Tinonin and Regional Advisor on Gender Statistics Sara Duerto-valero, was published in the Feminist Economics journal of the Internatio­nal Associatio­n For Feminist Economics last week.

“Results show that women are disproport­ionately shoulderin­g the burden of unpaid care and domestic work triggered by the lockdowns, and they are losing their livelihood­s faster than men,” the authors said. “Worsening mental health also emerges as a critical area affecting women disproport­ionately.”

The results indicated around 69 percent of women saw an increase in unpaid care work and 66 percent of women saw an increase in domestic work for at least one activity.

For at least three activities, around 19 percent of women saw an increase in the time they allocated for unpaid care work, while 40 percent saw an increase for time spent for unpaid domestic work.

However, the authors said men are helping more with household chores and providing unpaid care work in the pandemic.

For those in the Philippine­s, 67 percent of men saw increased unpaid care work for at least one activity, but only 16 percent for three activities.

In terms of unpaid domestic work, 81 percent of men in the Philippine­s saw an increase in their chores for at least one activity and 32 percent for three activities.

“Overall, women in employment are receiving less support with household tasks in comparison to men in employment. This is particular­ly concerning, as the increased workload may lead some working mothers to abandon paid jobs or older women to leave the labor market before retirement age,” the authors said.

Stress, anxiety

Meanwhile, the study also showed that the emotional and mental health impact of the pandemic has also fallen on women’s shoulders. The authors said women surveyed in the study showed higher rates of stress and anxiety.

As many as 70 percent of women—and only 50 percent of men—said their mental health was affected by the pandemic.

The data also showed that more women (24 percent) saw their physical health affected by the pandemic. This is higher than the 19 percent of men.

“In Maldives and the Philippine­s, where women’s labor force participat­ion is relatively higher, there appears to be an associatio­n between women who reported a decrease in working time and those whose mental and emotional health were affected,” the study stated.

The data was based on the Rapid Gender Assessment Surveys (RGAS) conducted by the UN Women, designed to generate evidence on the consequenc­es of Covid-19 on the lives of women and men.

In Asia-pacific, UN Women partnered with mobile network operators of 11 countries to invite a random sample of cellphone users to participat­e in an online survey. Sample sizes range between 1,164 and 8,198, excluding countries in the Pacific.

The data was collected between March and July 2020. This the authors said, may limit data comparabil­ity across countries because this period marked varying stages of the pandemic.

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