Local MSP Marks International Women’s Day Highlighting Impact of Covid-19 on Women

Highlands & Islands MSP Maree Todd (pictured) has marked International Women’s Day by paying tribute to women and girls across the region who have suffered ‘disproportionately’ from the impacts of Covid-19.

Evidence suggests that women are one of the groups of which the economic effects of Covid-19 are falling disproportionately.

A report on Regional Skills Assessments in the Highlands & Islands published by Skills Development Scotland showed that as of the 31st of October, the total number of jobs furloughed in the Highland local authority area stood at 8,200 which included 4,400 females and 3,800 males.

Commenting, SNP MSP Maree Todd said:

“Covid-19 has exacerbated pre-existing gender inequalities, for instance, women are more likely to work part-time, less likely to be in secure employment, less likely to be eligible for sick pay and more likely to earn less on average than men.

“This all contributes to a loss of income due to either job losses in sectors most exposed to Covid-19 – of which women account for higher employment shares – or through the furlough scheme.

“Women are also significantly more likely to have unpaid caring responsibilities which may make it hard to maintain or take on employment during lockdown.

“Addressing workplace inequality is vitally important if we are to close the gap in gender inequality.

“The Scottish Government’s Women’s Returners Programme seeks to do this through enabling access to valuable advice, peer support and access to training and work experience, ultimately opening up opportunities for women in sectors where they are under-represented.

“As the ongoing public health crisis impacts our economy and workforce, it’s imperative that as we look to rebuild and recover, we aim towards a fairer society for all, where everyone, regardless of gender, can prosper.”

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme ‘Choose to Challenge’ highlights the importance of challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality and the need to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.

Marking International Women’s Day, Ms Todd said:

“Covid-19 and lockdown have had a significant impact on all our lives, and it has shone a light on existing inequalities, including gender inequalities.

“This International Women’s Day, we should take the opportunity to thank women across the Highlands and Islands and throughout Scotland for their incredible work during the pandemic.

“In particular, our health and social care staff, the majority of whom are women, have been on the frontline in the battle against the virus and are leading the recovery through the administration of the vaccine.

“In addition, the significant increase in childcare has mainly been undertaken by mothers.

“In thanking these amazing women, we have to recognise that most men have not had to make the same sacrifices, and that is further evidence of gender inequality in Scotland.”