Women’s Budget Group briefing: Gender differences in access to Coronavirus Government support 

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted women’s employment and self-employment, exacerbating inequalities in the labour market. The Government have put schemes in place to protect workers’ earnings and jobs,but there have been clear differences between women and men in access, eligibility and the level of support received.

Key findings from the briefing include:

Self- employed women

  • By the end of January 2021 only 28.8% of all SEISS claims had been made by women despite women making up 34.8% of self-employed workers. 632,000 self-employed women (28.8%) made SEISS claims totalling just over £1.4 billion by January 2021.
  • This compares with 1,557,000 claims made by men, totalling nearly £4.8 billion.
  • Only 60% of eligible women claimed SEISS, compared to 68% of eligible men.
  • Women on average claimed £2,200 SEISS, while men claimed on average £3,300. The difference can be explained by self-employed women’s generally lower earnings compared to self-employed men.

Young women

  • Young women aged 18-25 are the largest group to be furloughed by age and gender. 24% of young women workers (425,300) have been furloughed compared to 20% of young men (345,100). For young women under the age of 18, 40% have been furloughed compared to 30% of young men.

Furloughed women

  • Overall data shows that women are more likely than men to have been furloughed. 52.1% of women have been furloughed despite women only making up  47.3% of the overall UK workforce. By the end of February 2021, 2,337,900 women were furloughed compared  to 2,144,700 men.

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