Females: Coronavirus

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 2nd July 2020.

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Photo of Karin Smyth Karin Smyth Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the UN Report The Impact of Covid 19 on Women; and what steps she is taking to in response to that report's findings that the covid-19 outbreak has had a greater negative economic impact on women, has led to an increase in unpaid care work, and has led to a rise in gender-based violence.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

This Government is working tirelessly to support people impacted by COVID-19, including women.

The UN Report has highlighted some key issues that women are facing globally as a result of this pandemic. To respond to these challenges, we have taken unprecedented steps to support lives and livelihoods, including increasing the generosity of Universal Credit, introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and made changes to ensure people do not miss out on parental leave, childcare support or carer’s allowance. We have also been clear that those with caring responsibilities (including childcare) can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will continue until October. We have also engaged extensively with a wide variety of key stakeholders to inform our work in this area, including the Fawcett Society, Equally Ours, a network of UK equal opportunities organisations, the UK Civil Society Women's Alliance, and small women’s organisations. The cultural shift in flexible working for all that we’ve seen in recent months can and must be part of how we build back better after the crisis.

Gendered violence of any kind is unacceptable, which is why we announced an extra £76 million to support the most vulnerable – including survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. This is in addition to the £2 million made available by the Home Office to help bolster domestic abuse helplines and online services, to ensure that support continues to be available for victims. Despite lockdown regulations, we made clear that anyone at risk of domestic abuse could still leave their home and go somewhere they feel safe. The Home Office is running an awareness campaign - #YouAreNotAlone - to signpost victims to the support services available.

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