United Nations: Fight against Covid-19 offers "a generational opportunity" to write a new social contract that upholds women's human rights, including the right to equal pay, according to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"This is a matter of justice and a responsibility for us all," he remarked on International Equal Pay Day, which falls on September 18.
"On International Equal Pay Day, let's resolve to dismantle the discrimination and harmful gender stereotypes that contribute to the gender pay gap," he said
Covid-19 revealed a heinous injustice: the lack of compensation for the work of raising children and caring for people who cannot look after themselves, which is largely done by women, said Guterres.
By pushing care work out of the formal economy and into the home, the pandemic has exacerbated the gender pay gap. Many women are struggling to hold down paid jobs while raising children, dealing with online school, and caring for sick or vulnerable family members without material compensation, he said.
Investing in the care economy helps bridge the pay gap by creating new, sustainable jobs while freeing women up to participate in the paid workforce, according to the UN chief.
At the same time, most frontline health workers battling the virus are women. However, women often make less money than men, have fewer decision-making powers, and are more likely to be victims of abuse and harassment, he noted.
Despite equal pay laws, women earn an average of just 80 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value. That figure is even less for women of colour and those with children, he claimed.