Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States,
Senior Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, European Women's Lobby,
Europe Correspondent, The Irish Times,
MEP, Greens/EFA, Germany,
Corporate Relations Director, Diageo,
The Covid-19 crisis made 2020 a challenging year for the European Union, impacting multiple economic sectors and social communities at different levels. Data from the UN and OECD countries show that poverty and unemployment rates increased for women during the pandemic. This is partly because 84% of working women in the EU aged 15-64 are employed by services that were predominantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
The overrepresentation of women in the informal economy and the lack of social protection have also exacerbated already existing gender inequalities. The reinforcement of gender roles in housework, and caregiving caused higher rates of stress and lower levels of productivity. Eurofound discovered that 17% of women with children under 18 years old are more likely to report that they are finding it hard to concentrate on their job because of family compared to just 9% of men.
As the EU recovery plan moves forward, what lessons can be learned from this crisis of inequality? How can we ensure that “Next Generation EU” is one that doesn’t leave women behind? Can investing in care infrastructure have greater employment stimulus effects? What are the macroeconomic opportunities to be gained by building resilience through gender equality?
As part of the Women's Leadership Dialogue Series and to mark the end of the EU-funded project Brussels Binder Beyond (BBBeyond), The Brussels Binder in collaboration with Bruegel and the German Marshall-Fund of the United States, brings together experts to explore these question and share their experience and lessons learned.