Analysis: Gender Inequality in Chad and the Impact of COVID-19
In Chad, only half of women participate in the labor force in contrast with nearly three-quarters of men. As this column reports, during the pandemic things got worse: Covid-19 forced some of the sectors in which women are mostly employed to shut down. It also burdened women with increased household and care work, reducing their economic productivity. Given the level of pre-pandemic gender inequality, closing gender gaps has become an even bigger challenge.
Chad’s development challenges are immense: from low economic productivity to long-lasting conflicts. Gender inequality is a particularly critical problem, which constrains both growth and social justice, yet is not always considered to be a priority. What’s more, the wide economic and social gaps between men and women in the country have widened during the pandemic. They have also amplified the impact of Covid-19 on women.
In a recent study, we use a macroeconomic model and microeconomic data to understand this two-way effect. The findings show that the pandemic has had a disproportionately higher negative impact on women in urban areas and households headed by women in general, with higher income losses.
With the impact of Covid-19 on gender gaps likely to be prolonged beyond 2021, recovery efforts present a unique opportunity for the government to put the women who have suffered most at the center, and to work toward fixing longstanding inequalities.
Photo courtesy of Chad women Albert Gonzalez Farran / Unamid.