Pandemic Slows Progress Towards Equality

Posted In: Network & Get Work

A study released by Network Ireland shows two-thirds (66%) of women feel the pandemic has slowed Ireland’s progress towards gender equality. The results of the survey are being released to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Of those respondents who believe progress towards gender inequality has slowed, three-quarters (73%) say this is most visible in the area of childcare and family life, while a quarter (23%) say it relates to employment.

The survey, which heard from almost 160 female respondents also shows:

•Four out of five say women have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 environment

•43% said Government/Public Policy is the area which needs to change the most to achieve gender equality

•When it comes to challenging gender inequality, half of the respondents say getting involved with voluntary groups such as Network Ireland is a good approach for young women, while just over a third (36%) say involvement in politics and 13% say involvement in media

•Almost three-quarters of respondents haven’t consulted a financial institution about support during the pandemic

•Of those who have needed financial assistance, dipping into savings was the most popular choice, followed by help from a financial institution and then help from family and friends.

President of Network Ireland Dr Aisling O’Neill says it’s clear women feel gender equality has slipped off the agenda in recent months: “We’re 12 months into a really challenging time in all our lives and this survey shows how this has impacted women’s views on how their contributions are regarded in society. On International Women’s Day, and as the vaccination programme progresses, what we need now is to see a push to reassure women that their concerns are heard and addressed as the country and economy look to recover from a traumatic experience”.

Catherine Moroney,  AIB’s Head of Business Banking Market, which is Network Ireland’s official partner, observed that the mix of funds used by businesses in the order of ‘own resources’, followed by ‘bank funding’ and ‘help from family and friends’ is an interesting insight during this pandemic.  Ms Moroney commented that it is really important for businesses to make sure they approach their financing strategically,  so that they match the finance term to their business cash-flow needs, ideally avoiding asking family/friends where at all feasible:

“We would advise customers to talk to us before they make a decision in this area as there are many other supports available that will match their business funding needs”.