We are entering our first pink-tinged recession.
The official unemployment figures released on Thursday confirmed that female work has has been more heavily impacted than male work.
Since February 457,517 women have lost their jobs and 380,737 men.
The disparity is likely to be worse when JobKeeper ends. The jobs at risk are concentrated in female-dominated industries.
Employed Australians, totalABS 6202.0
This might be thought to be reason enough for the government to focus its recovery efforts on supporting female jobs rather than “shovel ready” male-dominated jobs such as those in the construction industry.
But there’s another reason.
Women report poorer mental health than men. When responding to Australia’s Household Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) survey 20% of women report having diagnosed depression or anxiety, compared with 13% of men.
Young women suffer doubly
Using almost twenty years of HILDA data (2001-2018) we have compared changes in people’s mental health in locations that are experiencing increased unemployment with changes in other times and locations, controlling for other things that might effect mental health.
Women in their early-20’s and mid-40’s are more affected by local economic downturns than men.
These ages are the ones in which women’s involvement in the labour market is the highest – just before and after having children.
The graph below shows that for women in their early-20’s every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is estimated to increase the number of women with poor mental health by about 7%.
Authors: The Conversation