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Covid-19 crisis could set women back decades, experts fear



Covid-19 crisis could set women back decades, experts fear

The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating effect on gender equality and could set women back decades, experts have said on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.

In a week during which it was revealed that women are bearing the brunt of extra childcare and housework and are losing jobs in greater numbers than men, campaigners, politicians and work experts said a dearth of female voices at the heart of government also risks putting 50 years of progress into reverse.

“In my view women’s workplace equality will have been set back decades by this crisis unless government intervenes to avert it,” said Sam Smethers, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society.

“We’re looking at the prospect of a two-tier workplace where men go back and women stay home. It’s taken us 20 years to get this far on female participation in the workforce, but it could take only months to unravel.”

Experts spoke to the Guardian about the long-term consequences the pandemic could have in a range of key areas. Work

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