The Worsening of Australian Women’s Experiences under COVID-19: A Crisis for Victoria’s Future

Associate Professor Andrea Carson, Associate Professor Leah Ruppanner and Dr Shaun Ratcliff

COVID-19 has placed unparallelled challenges on individuals, families, employers and governments. As global cases have climbed, governments have responded by closing economies and restricting the movement of individuals to stop the spread of the deadly pathogen. The implications of these closures are uniquely gendered at both home and work.

To better understand how Australians are coping under the pandemic, we conducted two surveys during heightened periods of social movement restrictions. The first was under the first lockdown (May 2020) to understand their work, family and health experiences during these unprecedented times. The second was during the height of the Stage four lockdowns in Victoria (September 2020). Our survey design allowed us to follow many Australians over these two time periods to document changes in their work, family and health experiences.

Australian women experienced higher economic vulnerability in May 2020 which has compounded for Victorian women in September 2020. Women continue to carry a larger housework and childcare load with the greatest disadvantage amongst Victorian women.Women’s health has been severely impacted by the pandemic with Victorian women particularly vulnerable to poor health, anxiety and restless sleep.

Download the Worsening Gender Equality Report