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COVID-19 and Working Lives in the UK: Inequalities of Gender and Class

A webinar is being held on June 18th to showcase the findings of three new research projects.

In the first of these projects, Clare Lyonette from IER has been working with Professor Tracey Warren at the University of Nottingham and the Women's Budget Group to examine the specific impact of Covid-19 on working class women, funded by the ESRC.

As well as presentations from the three projects, the webinar will host a panel of academic and policy-focused discussants, including Mandu Reid from the Women's Equality Party and Nikki Pound from the TUC.

For more details about the event and registration read here.

Tue 18 May 2021, 10:32 | Tags: women, work, Covid-19

Call for papers for Beyond 4.0 conference on digitalisation and work

Beyond 4.0 will hold a scientific conference in Sofia over 30 September-1 October 2021. It focuses on digital transformations on work and employment. It is likely to be a hybrid conference. The deadline for submitting proposals is 15 March 2021. Proposals should be no more than 450 words and sent to: Read more here.

Wed 10 Feb 2021, 11:37 | Tags: work, digitalisation

The cumulative burden of housework, childcare, home-schooling and paid employment during the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women’s psychological wellbeing

New research is being conducted by Professor Tracey Warren at the University of Nottingham and Professor Clare Lyonette at IER, with the Women’s Budget Group. Latest findings, reported in the Telegraph, suggest that the cumulative burden of housework, childcare, home-schooling and paid employment during the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women’s psychological wellbeing.

During lockdown, 70% of employed women living in couples reported bearing the main responsibility for washing/ironing (13% of men). Far more working mothers than fathers had main responsibility for childcare and 59% of employed mothers reported having main responsibility for additional home-schooling (9% of men). Women’s paid work has also been affected. More women than men are keyworkers, highest among working-class women, and a much higher proportion of female keyworkers are in frontline roles involving face-to-face interaction, putting both themselves and their families at risk, e.g. Health and social care; Education and child-care. Other women, especially working class women, have been furloughed, raising the risk of later job losses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, women's psychological wellbeing has been badly impacted, with working class women most likely to be psychologically distressed.

Tue 06 Oct 2020, 18:12 | Tags: women, work, Covid-19

Listen to Clare Lyonette talking about her new project assessing the Covid-19 related burden on working-class women

Professor Clare Lyonette was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham on Thursday July 16th about her new UKRI-funded project 'Carrying the work burden of the Covid-19 pandemic: working class women in the UK'. Listen to the interview here, starting at around 11.20 am.

The project, led by Professor Tracey Warren from the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Professor Clare Lyonette and the Women's Budget Group is being funded under the Covid-19 programme. Using new Covid-related questions from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, the research will assess how working-class women, who already juggle paid employment with the bulk of housework and childcare responsibilities, have been affected by the additional pressures of increased demands, both at home and at work. Read more in the University of Warwick press release here.

Fri 17 Jul 2020, 08:56 | Tags: women, work, Covid-19

Harnessing growth sectors for poverty reduction


Two further reports have been published by Professor Anne Green, Paul Sissons (Coventry University) and Neil Lee (LSE) from an ESRC-funded project on Harnessing Growth Sectors for Poverty Reduction.

The first report on employment entry finds that there is potential for using a well-targeted, sector-focused approach to increase employment entry and help reduce poverty. Social care and the hospitality industry offer opportunities for sector-specific training programmes for people who find it difficult to access employment. But because these sectors are characterised by low pay policies need to promote career progression as well as job entry. The construction sector is also well placed to provide employment and training opportunities for local residents, and the government could encourage this through procurement and planning policies. There is also growing interest in the potential role of social enterprises in providing local jobs – especially with regard to repairs and maintenance of social housing. Sector-focused work experience is an important way of getting young people and unemployed adults skilled up for work.

The second report examines aspects of job quality. It finds that while job quality should be a critical issue for policymakers there is a lack of empirical evidence from approaches seeking to enhance job quality. Pay and job security are important elements of job quality, as are flexible employment practices that enable people to balance work and caring responsibilities. Trade unions can play an important role in improving job quality outcomes. Where there is evidence from sector-focused approaches to job quality these have sought to link changes in employment conditions with service improvements for employers; utilised procurement as an opportunity to shape job quality; or sought to encourage changes in business models as a precursor to improving job quality. There is a need to pilot and trial different approaches to improving job quality in different sectors and for different types of employment.

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