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Progress of women in the workplace has started to REVERSE as a result of pandemic, research suggests

The pandemic has halted and reversed years of women’s progress in the workplace, according to researchers.

The effects of the virus are a ‘shecession’ as they have been more likely to lose their jobs or be furloughed, a study by PwC said.

Women have also had to spend more time caring for children than men have.

The pandemic has halted and reversed years of women's progress in the workplace, according to researchers (file photo)

The pandemic has halted and reversed years of women's progress in the workplace, according to researchers (file photo)

The pandemic has halted and reversed years of women’s progress in the workplace, according to researchers (file photo)

The report said female-dominated industries such as tourism, hospitality and retail have the highest share of furloughed jobs in the UK. More than half of those on the scheme were women, even though they only make up 48 per cent of the workforce.

The pandemic has halted nine years of ‘consistent gains towards women’s economic empowerment’, the study added.

Around 650,000 jobs in hospitality and tourism have been lost since last year. Laura Hinton, of PwC, said the findings showed the ‘very real’ impact of Covid-19 on women.

She said: ‘Based on our findings, there is absolutely no time to lose in addressing the very real impact of the pandemic on women.

‘Governments, policymakers and businesses all have a responsibility to work together to empower women and create opportunities for meaningful participation in the workforce.’

The collapse of Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia led to the loss of close to 23,000 jobs - of which around 18,400 were women. Pictured: Debenhams Oxford Street branch is boarded up last year

The collapse of Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia led to the loss of close to 23,000 jobs - of which around 18,400 were women. Pictured: Debenhams Oxford Street branch is boarded up last year

The collapse of Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia led to the loss of close to 23,000 jobs – of which around 18,400 were women. Pictured: Debenhams Oxford Street branch is boarded up last year

It is feared that a long absence from work could lead women to give up their job harming their long-term career prospects and forcing them into less well-paid jobs.

The collapse of Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia led to the loss of close to 23,000 jobs – of which around 18,400 were women.

The UK lags behind other large countries with just two-thirds of working women in full-time employment, compared to 89 per cent of men.

This means that it will take the UK 32 more years to reach the current average level amongst developed OECD countries.

Getting more women into work would be a massive boost to the economy, bringing in £48billon per year if the UK as a whole matched the South-West, which is the consistent top performer for female participation.

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