Podgorica, 23 November 2020 – The ongoing coronavirus pandemic impact on women is grounded in deeply entrenched inequalities, social norms, and unequal power relations - with women spending on average, an equivalent of 8 years of their lives carrying domestic and unpaid care work.
The latest UNDP Montenegro report "Women's Contribution to the Economy of Montenegro – Utilization of Care work by women during Covid-19", presented at a media conference today, elaborates the contribution of women to Montenegrin economy, as well as the issues of unpaid work and care during the Covid-19 pandemic and provides estimates of their value to better understand early and most pronounced impacts of the crises on women.
The report estimates that women's work in the domain of unpaid work and domestic care exceeded that done by men by 92%. The monetary value of such work and care has been projected at 122 million euros during the three months of the Covid-19 pandemic, that is, from April to June 2020. While 11% of women reported that they usually don’t do any domestic work, the share of men who reported the same was 42%.
The share of women among the newly unemployed reached 56% in the same reference period, with Covid-19 leading to the overall drop in women's net earnings, which cumulatively amounted to 2.34 million euros at the end of June, compared to the end of February.
The report also notes that already before the pandemic, the GDP per capita for women reached only 86% of the national average GDP, compared for 114% for men.
UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro, Ms Daniela Gasparikova, said that ‘’any economic strategy needs to be informed by the analysis of their intended impacts on the wellbeing of women and men, rather than blindly assuming that they will bring about the same positive outcomes for women and men. The forthcoming economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity for countries to pause at the cross-road, and shape the quality of their future recovery strategies through a renewed social contract that prioritizes social justice and gender equality, " Gasparikova stated.
Although unpaid work has not been recognized in official policies, rendering it invisible, it is estimated that its contribution to the national economy is significant and accounts for 15% of GDP.
The author of the report, economist Miloš Vuković, noted the fact that ‘’although the virus itself does not discriminate, the effects of Covid-19 are anything but gender-neutral given that the immediate and long-term consequences of the pandemic affect women in particular. The largest increase in the number of unemployed women is recorded in the 31 to 40-year-old group, while the category of unemployed women who have been looking for work for up to one year saw an increase of as much as 38.7%. These data point to the fact that the crisis had a pronounced impact on young women, in particular, Vuković said.
The report puts forward several recommendations that would contribute to systematic addressing of disparities between men and women. Among others, these include timely production and analysis of sex-disaggregated data and gender-sensitive analysis of the state - to make sure that the state aid package does not widen the gender gap and genuinely responds to the needs of both women and men - not only in times of crisis. Besides, it is necessary to systematically encourage greater participation of men in unpaid domestic work, which proved to be of particular importance during work- and learning-from-home measures.
The report reiterates the call for greater participation of women in decision-making processes related to the design of macro-economic and financing of the economic sectoral policies, intending to foster the economic empowerment of women.
The new UNDP Report "Women's Contribution to the Economy of Montenegro – Utilisation of Care work by women during Covid-19" undoubtedly shows that the epidemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing gender inequalities in the lives of women in Montenegro.
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The report is available for downloading:
Radica Zeković, UNDP Office in Montenegro
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Kaća Đuričković, UNDP Programme Manager
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