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WOMEN have been “invisibilised” and left out of the government’s pandemic response and recovery plans, researchers told the TUC Women’s Conference today.
Independent Sage member and race equality expert Dr Zubaida Haque said that sectors where there are a high proportion of women workers are being ignored in pandemic recovery plans.
“Whenever sectors are referred to in this pandemic, it has been disproportionately about the male sectors, about taxi-cab drivers, about the manufacturing industry,” she told a fringe meeting discussing the impact of the pandemic on women.
“But little [has been said] about how we are going to support women in the retail industry, in the tourism industry and the hospitality industry.
“I think recognising the extent to which this pandemic has affected women overall has not only been ignored but, to a great extent, women have been completely invisibilised.”
The researcher said that many women have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic — but there has been no attempt to address how to help them back into work or ensure they do not re-enter the workplace lower down the ladder.
She added that for black women these questions are even more urgent because inequalities are “much more likely to be compounded.”
International Trade Union Confederation director of equality Chidi King said: “Workers from already disadvantaged groups, through discrimination, violence and exclusion, have pretty much been left out of the picture.
“If we are going to build back better, to borrow that phrase, I would say we need to build back completely differently, actually; we need to ensure that we’re looking at doing this on a basis that tackles some of the structural inequalities that already existed in our labour markets.”
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