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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - NIDS-CRAM Working Paper
Title The gendered effects of the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing lockdown in South Africa: Evidence from NIDS-CRAM Waves 1 - 5
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
URL https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/3.-Casale-D.-_-Shepherd-D.-2021-The-gendered-effec​ts-of-the-Covid-19-crisis-and-ongoing-lockdown-in-South-Africa-Evidence-from-NIDS-CRAM-Waves-1-–-5​..pdf
Abstract
Globally, women have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In line with this, research using earlier waves of the NIDS-CRAM survey found that women in South Africa were particularly hard hit. Relative to men, they were much more likely to lose their jobs during the initial strict lockdown phase, and their recovery was slower as the economy started to reopen (Casale and Posel 2020; Casale and Shepherd 2020; 2021a). Despite these uneven effects in the labour market, women were less likely than men to benefit from the COVID-specific government income support measures put in place to help cushion the blow to unemployed and furloughed workers. In addition to these gendered outcomes, there were also inequalities in the home. The time that women spend on childcare was found to be relatively more responsive to school closures and re-openings than the time men spend on childcare, with far more women than men citing childcare responsibilities as a constraint to their labour market activities (Casale and Shepherd 2020). In this final policy paper update, we track these uneven effects using the full five waves of the NIDS-CRAM survey, providing a comprehensive overview of how the first year of the pandemic has affected gender inequality in SA. We find that in March 2021, men’s employment and working hours were back to pre-COVID levels, while women’s employment and working hours remained below the February 2020 baseline figures. In addition to uneven effects in the labour market, inequalities in the time spent on childcare and in the income support for unemployed or furloughed workers persist. The evidence from the NIDSCRAM survey over the last year therefore suggests that the pandemic has resulted in a rise in gender inequality in South Africa, undoing some of the gains of the previous two decades.

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