The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario
The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women, with women’s labour participation rate falling to its lowest level in 30 years. Existing systemic inequalities have been further exacerbated by recent shut-down measures, resulting in what some economists are calling a “she-cession,” as more women have lost their jobs and fewer women than men are re-gaining employment. As schools begin to reopen, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s latest report, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario lays out a path to Ontario’s “she-covery” by offering practical recommendations to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges.
Major takeaways from the report include:
- Leadership and accountability begin with a commitment from stakeholders to set collective targets, reward diversity, include women in decision-making bodies, and apply a gender and diversity lens to their strategies, policies, and programs for recovery.
- Child care requires a short-term strategy to weather the pandemic and longer-term, system-wide reforms to improve accessibility and affordability.
- Workforce development initiatives should focus on defining critical skills, accelerating women’s reskilling, and ensuring their skills are utilized – with a focus on increasing their participation in skilled trade, technology, and engineering roles in fast-growing sectors.
- Entrepreneurship should be understood as a pathway to economic growth, and an inclusive ecosystem is critical to supporting diverse women entrepreneurs.
- Flexible work arrangements are one way to level the playing field for women and improve organizational outcomes.