Survey reveals how COVID-19 has impacted West Midlands women

Almost four in ten women in the West Midlands say their mental health has got worse since the pandemic started and almost a third are struggling financially, according to a new survey.

The survey for commissioned by West Midlands Women’s Voice, a group which supports the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) found 37% of women in the region say their mental health has got worse since the COVID-19 outbreak began in March.

The survey also shows that almost half (47%) of women questioned said they would be likely to use local high street ‘pop up shops’ for mental health support if they existed.

Younger women, Black, Asian and minority ethnicity women, and parents are even more likely to be interested in such an offer.

The survey, which was conducted by the gender equality campaigning charity the Fawcett Society, examined health, social and economic issues affecting women post-pandemic.

When asked almost half of women in the West Midlands (47%) said they have considered retraining into health and social care during Covid-19.

BAME women, younger women, and parents more likely to have given retraining some thought across all fields.

The research also found that:

  • Three in ten women in the West Midlands (27%) say that they are ‘struggling or worse’ financially, compared with 16% before the crisis.
  • A fifth of women in the West Midlands (20%) said their employability had worsened.
  • Across both city regions, use of public transport, and cars, has fallen under lockdown while 58% of women in the West Midlands said they were walking more.

Eight out of ten women in the West Midlands (81%) say their work has changed during the pandemic.

A quarter of women (25%) have seen their location of work change, with nine out of ten working from home. Twenty eight percent have seen their hours change, with the majority (63%) losing hours.

Impacts have differed by ethnicity as 13% of employed BAME women have seen their pay change compared with 5% of white women

A fifth of women in the West Midlands (21%) have been furloughed. More women in ‘DE’ social groups, such as those in manual work (33%) are on the scheme than women in AB groups, such as professional or managerial roles (14%) in the region.

‘We welcome this study which provides a much-needed focus on women in the West Midlands’ said the combined authority’s chief executive, Deborah Cadman.

‘Putting the spotlight on how women have been affected by the pandemic will help shape our recovery plans for the region, which will be more than economic recovery – we also need to reconnect as a community and fundamentally re-think how we live and work.’

Photo Credit – Wokandapix (Pixabay)

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