THL: Women disproportionately affected by pandemic

Increased childcare duties and the strain placed on female-dominated labour market sectors were among the reasons behind the added impact, THL's report said.

File photo of a careworker at the Esperi carehome in Jänismäki. Image: Jouni Immonen / Yle

The Covid crisis has impacted young women and part-time female workers especially hard, according to a report by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

"Care for children and the elderly has piled up on women’s shoulders during the coronavirus crisis, domestic abuse incidents have also increased, while unemployment has hit primarily younger women. It is important to take the impact on gender equality into account in the aftermath of the crisis," THL's specialist researcher Merita Jokela said in a press release announcing the results of the study.

The institute's latest research into gender equality revealed that Finland is one of the few EU countries where women's working conditions suffered more than men's during the pandemic. This is because the female-dominated service sectors as well as part-time positions were hit the hardest.

According to THL, the coronavirus crisis has shown that the Finnish social security system does support people relatively well in the event of economic shocks, such as unemployment. However, the report noted, the crisis has also exposed the structural weaknesses within Finnish society, which are exacerbated in a crisis situation.

"This crisis has highlighted how invaluable care work is, and also how undervalued it still is regarded within our society," Jokela said, adding that "for example, this is reflected in how overworked nurses are, as well as their low wages, but also in the added pressure of coronavirus restrictions on unpaid caregivers of children, the elderly and people with disabilities."

The health, economic and social effects of the coronavirus crisis on gender equality in Finland, is the main focus of this year's annual event 'Equality Days.'

THL's Centre for Gender Equality is organising the online event on 6 and 7 October in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.