Armine Yalnizyan of the Atkinson Foundation has been superspreading the idea that the distinctive feature of the 2020 recession is its disproportionate impact on women. She maintains that, with its devastating hit on service industries, the pandemic has caused greater job losses for women than men, thus creating Canada’s first “she-cession,” in which women have borne the brunt of the downturn. She has also argued that the recovery has been hampered by women not being able to return to the labour force because they have to care for children. Universal daycare, she says, would be a “magic bullet” that would speed up the recovery.
A close examination of the facts reveals major holes in these arguments. To start with, the recession affected men and women almost equally. Between February and August 535,000 men and 562,000 women lost their jobs, as shown in the accompanying graph. Women fared slightly worse during the closing of the economy between February and April (losing 1.536 million jobs versus 1.467 million for men) but they also recovered slightly faster between April and August (with 974,000 women getting jobs versus 932,000 men).
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