The coronavirus has dominated all of our lives in recent months. Radical paths were taken by politicians in the form of lockdowns to contain the pandemic. But we should recognize that even if the coronavirus is a (major) challenge for us, we always have to keep a holistic view of world events. Just as there are epidemiological factors to consider in this crisis, there are also economic, social, cultural, political and other health factors at play. It is precisely these other factors that are so often forgotten in the panicky reporting, in the constant, manic tracking of the current infection numbers, that we want to take a look at in our series “The Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns” in the coming weeks.
As we have seen in previous entries of our The Costs of Lockdowns series, lockdowns tend to particularly hurt those who are already in a precarious situation, such as small businesses, children, drug addicts, the poor that are close to starvation. Another group of people that has seen unfortunate consequences from the prevailing Corona politics have been women, who have been much more hurt economically by the drastic measures taken to curb the pandemic than men.
An analysis by the International Labor Organization shows that as a result of working fewer hours – women have been more likely to stay at home with kids after school closures – between the first and second quarter of 2020, on average, women suffered a 6.9 % decline in wages, compared to the 4.7% decline suffered by their male counterparts – this is a 47% difference! Furthermore, 4% of women who lost their jobs during the pandemic stopped looking for work, compared with just 1% of men. In Germany, the 8.6% decline in women’s wages in the first half of this year was almost twice that for men. In the U.K., women saw earnings decline by 12.9%, nearly double the drop for men.
As in other areas then, hard-won victories in the name of economic prosperity, material progress, mental health, and equality are demolished by the current political situation.
More Statistics in Our Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns Series:
Children Hurt Not by Corona – But by Lockdowns: children’s mental-health-related visits to the emergency departments in the U.S. increased by approximately 24% and 31% for children aged 5-11 and 12-17, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019. (CDC)
Record-Breaking Budget Deficit in the U.S.: the U.S. government spent $3.1 trillion more than it collected in 2020. Who is supposed to ever pay back all this money has not been answered yet. (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
Drug Addiction Intensifies: the number of people dying from drug overdose in the U.S.rose by 17% in the last twelve months. This only includes reported cases until May 31, 2020. (CDC)
Governments Grow in Size: in Austria, Germany, France, and Italy government spending has risen dramatically in 2020. (European Commission, Statista, and Handelsblatt)
Stillbirths on the Rise: more than 200.000 additional stillbirths could occur just in the next 12 months, concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. (UNICEF)
The Poor Pay the Higher Lockdowns Price: lockdowns and restrictions have proven to be something that disproportionally affects those already poor, whereas those wealthier are less hurt. (PEW Research Center)
How Women Are More Hurt by Lockdowns Than Men: between the first and second quarter of 2020, on average, women suffered a 6.9 % decline in wages, compared to the 4.7% decline suffered by their male counterparts. (International Labor Organization)
No Work in Europe Thanks to Lockdowns: The sharp decline in labor market participation and the 32 million people under the short-term work schemes hide the real numbers of the unemployed in the European Union, which most likely averaged a two-digit number. (ECB & Eurostat)
Printing Money in Times of Corona: Monetary policy effectiveness has its boundaries. As the Fed has created 39% of all the “dollars” in the economy in 2020, those boundaries might have been reached. (Trading Economics)
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