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“As governments take steps to address the economic and social effects of COVID-19, they should not let it reverse the gender equality progress achieved in recent decades.

“To avoid this, we must retain women’s productive participation in the labour force, something we did not do in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. Here support measures were provided to large infrastructure projects that mainly employed men, while jobs were cut in teaching, nursing and in public services, all female-intensive sectors.

“Support measures in response to COVID-19 should go beyond workers who hold formal employment and include informal, part-time and seasonal workers, most of whom are women.

“This is particularly necessary in female-dominated spheres such as the hospitality, food and tourism sectors, now at a standstill due to confinement measures by governments.

Some countries are already moving in this direction. For example, Italy is considering putting into place support measures to cover informal and temporary workers once their contracts are over.” – UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), April 2020

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