Gender and Employment in the COVID-19 Recession: Evidence on “She-Cessions”

25 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2022

See all articles by John C. Bluedorn

John C. Bluedorn

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department

Francesca Caselli

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Niels-Jakob Hansen

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Ippei Shibata

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Marina Mendes Tavares

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Policy Development and Review Department

Date Written: March 2021

Abstract

Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.

Keywords: COVID-19 recession, Employment, Gender, sectoral employment, labor force participation contribution, gender gap change, labor market change, sectoral workforce composition, Employment rate, Women, Gender inequality, Labor markets, Global

JEL Classification: E24, E32, J16, J60, J20, I12

Suggested Citation

Bluedorn, John C. and Caselli, Francesca and Hansen, Niels-Jakob and Shibata, Ippei and Mendes Tavares, Marina, Gender and Employment in the COVID-19 Recession: Evidence on “She-Cessions” (March 2021). IMF Working Paper No. 2021/095, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4026266

John C. Bluedorn (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Francesca Caselli

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Niels-Jakob Hansen

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Ippei Shibata

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Marina Mendes Tavares

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Policy Development and Review Department ( email )

700 19th St. NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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