The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities between women and men in almost all areas of life, both in Glasgow and beyond.

Women are at the frontline tackling the pandemic. They are overrepresented in the retail, hospitality, care and service sectors that are worst affected by the crisis because these jobs cannot be done remotely.

Lockdowns have also significantly impact on unpaid care and work-life balance of women. To build the economy back in an inclusive way, we have to ensure care is central to policy decisions and unpaid work that underpins the economy must be recognised.

Men are found to greatly outnumber women in the organisations created to respond to the pandemic. However, policies that do not consult women or include them in decision-making are less effective, and can even be harmful. Beyond individual women, women’s organisations who are often on the front line of response in communities should be represented and supported.

This is not just about taking action to rectify inequalities but also about building a more just and resilient city. Women are the most affected by this pandemic but they will also be the backbone of recovery in communities. This shift in priority must be central to building back the economy.

It requires a necessary move away from the usual stimulus packages of infrastructure investment. This traditional response to the economic crisis of will only entrench inequality by focusing job creation on men who traditionally work within the construction industry, supporting occupational segregation by gender and the gender pay gap.

It is vitally important that there is analysis to ensure recovery programmes, services and policies meet women’s needs. Lone mothers and carers, Black, Asian and minority ethnic women and disabled women are priority groups, among others, experiencing some of the worst social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic.

These programmes should be designed to have a significant impact on women’s inequality in the labour market. By challenging gender stereotypes and increasing the representation of women in decision-making, as well as senior roles within political and democratic structures, women can have an opportunity to shape important strategic plans to support our city’s recovery.

Targeted support is needed to ensure that the adverse economic impacts of the pandemic do not exacerbate existing gender employment inequalities. Women are more likely to have been furloughed and for longer than men. Women’s financial situation is negatively affected by receiving only 80% of their salary over a prolonged period of time. As the majority of furloughed employees, women are also put at greater risk of redundancy over the course of the crisis. 

As the Economic Strategy for Glasgow is developed in the next few months, Green Councillors are seeking to ensure that it does not reinforce women’s concentration in low-paid female dominated jobs and sectors but instead challenges occupational segregation by design.

It is vital that we prioritise action to invest in green jobs which maximise opportunities for girls and young women. Our recovery efforts must prevent the deepening of gender inequalities and reverse worsening outcomes for women. Putting women and girls at the centre of our city’s economy can bring a better and more sustainable future for all.