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With extra childcare and home tasks, the pandemic poses a "actual risk" to ladies's progress, the UN notes

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LONDON – Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, women have been bearing the brunt of additional childcare responsibilities and unpaid housework, a United Nations (UN) study found.

Women in a number of countries around the world spent an average of 31 hours a week looking after children, according to a study by the United Nations Equality Agency UN Women.

This was an average of 5.2 hours per week more than the pre-pandemic time spent on childcare and compared to 3.5 hours that men said they spent now on childcare.

The statistics come from studies by the market research company Ipsos for UN women, in which 14,509 people aged 16 to 74 in 16 countries were surveyed in October. Published Wednesday.

UN Women warned that "there is a real risk that the pandemic will wipe out the important but fragile strides that women have made over the past few decades".

The report highlighted that both men and women had seen increases in their unpaid workload since the beginning of the pandemic, but that women were still doing the lion's share of that work.

The larger order consisted of data from 38 countries. It was found that two fifths of women stated that they had spent more time on unpaid housework, compared with 54% of men and 28% of women that the intensity of this work had increased compared with 16% of men.

The UN found that parents also got more help from their daughters than from their sons in the house.

The data showed that more women were leaving the workforce, and using a sample of 55 countries, the United Nations found that 1.7 times as many women as men were outside the labor market at the end of the second quarter of 2020 – 321 million women versus 182 million men.

Additionally, UN women said: "While many governments have taken unprecedented measures to contain the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, the majority of the responses have been blind to the needs of women."

According to the "Global Covid-19 Gender Response Tracker" developed by UN Women as part of the UN Development Program, 206 countries and territories had implemented a total of 1,813 measures to combat the economic and social effects of Covid-19. However, only 85 had taken measures to strengthen women's economic security, while only 60 had taken measures to combat unpaid care.

Only 111 measures actually directly affected unpaid care work, representing 8% of all social protection and labor market measures implemented in response to the pandemic.

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Katherine Clark