Working Papers

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women’s Care Work and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

No.

SWP 2022-5

Publisher

ILO and ERF

Date

June, 2022

Topic

O5. Economywide Country Studies

J6. Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

I1. Health

J2. Demand and Supply of Labor

J1. Demographic Economics

The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by widespread child care and school closures. Emerging evidence – primarily from high-income countries – suggests that these changes have disproportionately increased women’s time in unpaid care, which may be a particular challenge for women who have to balance these increased care needs with paid employment. This paper uses the waves of the ERF COVID-19 Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Monitor phone surveys in five countries to examine how MENA women’s unpaid care responsibilities have changed during the pandemic and how the impacts of the pandemic on their employment depend on care responsibilities and type of employment. Several research questions are addressed: (1) How has the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly the closure of schools and nurseries, impacted women’s time spent in care work? (2) How are exits from employment related to care responsibilities?; and (3) How do changes in employment vary by pre-pandemic type of employment?

The webinars, reports and papers are supported by the project “Advancing the Decent Work Agenda in North Africa (ADWA’)”, implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The project aims to promote job-rich growth, International Labour Standards (ILS) and their application at the enterprise level. It works at the policymaking level in order to support evidence-based decisions on key dimensions of the Decent Work Agenda. This project was made possible by the generous contributions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the Government of the United Kingdom, the World Bank and the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development (AFESD).    
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women’s Care Work and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Authors

Caroline Krafft

Associate Professor of Economics, St. Catherine University

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women’s Care Work and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Research Fellows

Irène Selwaness

Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics and Political...

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women’s Care Work and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Authors

Maia Sieverding

Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice at...