Chapter 2 summary: Gender-responsive macroeconomic policies: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and beyond (provisional title). Author: Valeria Esquivel

Summary of the Chapter 2 of the Global Employment Policy Review (Second edition).

The COVID-19 pandemic has been different from previous crises in its depth and extent, and the recovery paths that ensued are still uneven and uncertain. Like previous crises, however, its consequences have not been felt equally. The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the entrenched gender inequalities that, compounded with other inequalities, plague labour markets. Women were more heavily impacted by the employment losses than men, and the recovery risks leaving them behind. Patterns of growth – i.e., the sectors behind GDP contraction and recovery— are particularly salient in explaining these trends, as women are overrepresented in hard hit and less dynamic sectors. The crisis also showed that employment policies broadly defined (including macroeconomic, sectoral, and active labour market policies) play an important role in cushioning these impacts, as women’s job losses were relatively lower in countries where those policies were put in place.

Gender-responsive employment policies are those that explicitly address the gender-specific effects of the COVID–19 crisis and support the creation of full and productive employment for women and men, including in the care sectors. Within this framework, this chapter focuses on the macroeconomic policies put in place to respond to the crisis and support recovery, to investigate whether and how they became gender-responsive (or failed to do so). The chapter draws on case studies developed in the framework of the UN Women-ILO Joint Programme “Promoting decent employment for women through inclusive growth policies and investments in care” as well as on other policy sources.