CNN asked the world’s richest nations how they plan to close the pandemic gender gap. Here’s what they said πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

The poll showed that an average of 60% of women in G7 nations feel their governments have failed to support them in dealing with changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also detailed the areas where women are particularly hurting at the moment.

The poll revealed a major gap between government pledges to build back better in a way that “promotes equality, especially gender equality” following the pandemic, and the reality of how women in their populations actually feel.

Following the revelation, CNN asked the G7 governments what they plan to do about it.

Canada was the first to reply. Marci Ien, the country’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, said: “We know that gender equality and economic recovery are interconnected in so many ways. From the onset of the pandemic, we understood that women were disproportionately impacted, and we took immediate action to support them through a variety of policies and programs.”

Data from Ien’s office showed that at the start of the pandemic, job losses among women in Canada (-6.9%) were almost double that experienced among men (-3.7%) and school and daycare closures further impacted women’s ability to participate in the labor force or continue their own education. In June 2020, almost two-thirds (64.3%) of women reported that they mostly homeschooled or helped children with homework, while fewer than one in five men (18.5%) reported being mostly responsible for this.

Ien’s office also acknowledged that the pandemic had disproportionately affected minority women and amplified long-standing gender inequalities which had in turn, led to increased rates of some forms of gender-based violence.

Her office outlined a series of measures they have implemented to address these issues. However, they also acknowledged more work was needed, especially in light of CNN’s poll finding that over half of Canadian women surveyed were unhappy with the Canadian government’s response to the pandemic.

Japan

Japan responded with a candid admission of how far their country lags behind on gender equity issues.

“In Japan, the number of women employed has declined greatly, and women find themselves placed in extremely difficult situations in terms of employment and living conditions. The number of domestic violence consultations has also increased, as has the number of women who committed suicide,” a spokesperson from the Japanese government’s Gender Equality Bureau told CNN.

“In this way, we recognize that the pandemic of Covid-19 has not only had a significant impact on the lives of people, but also highlighted once again how Japan lags far behind on gender equality,” they said, adding that putting women and girls at the center of their efforts to recover from Covid-19 will be a priority, as well as continued efforts to tackle structural issues such as the gender pay gap and unconscious bias in relation to gender roles.

They pointed to a video message released by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on International Women’s Day pledging to “create an environment in which women can be financially independent.” Kushida announced a series of measures aimed at tackling inflation and addressing structural barriers in the workplace, such as, “reviewing public prices, which will precede wage increases in the private sector, reviewing corporate disclosure rules to close the gender pay gap, and creating a society in which both men and women can work as they choose.”

Italy

Italy responded by outlining a series of measures the government has taken to increase women’s participation in the labour market. Even before the pandemic hit, Italian women made up one of the lowest labor force participation rates in the OECD, a gap then exacerbated by Covid-19.

“We have introduced tax incentives for businesses that take concrete steps towards equal pay and growth opportunities for women, for a total of 50 million euros per year. In order to support female entrepreneurship, we have allocated specific funds for start-ups and innovative projects led by women,” a statement from the government’s press office stated.

The Italian government in its statement however did not speak to the specific findings of CNN’s poll. In the poll, only 29% of women in Italy said they felt they received a good amount of support from both their local and national government.

Germany

Germany’s government replied to CNN’s request saying: “As a matter of principle the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizen, Women and Youth does not comment on studies or polls it was not involved in.”

The remaining G7 countries

France, the United Kingdom and the United States did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

More than two years after Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill, CNN’s poll clearly shows that a big gap remains between government platitudes to build a society where no woman is left behind and that actually translating into real change on the ground.

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CNN asked the world’s richest nations how they plan to close the pandemic gender gap. Here’s what they said

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