Vol. 23




“A Reality of
Women’s Labor
After COVID-19”



Inequality problems inherent in our society have been exacerbated and brought to out attention due to the COVID-19. Among them, the issue of gender inequality is particularly serious. While we have been experiencing economic challenges due to the spread of COVID-19, the gender gap in employment and unemployment rate is increasingly widening. Moreover, due to the restriction and suspension of public care services, more women have a tendency to be overburdened with unpaid care and domestic work, even they are likely to choose giving up their jobs. It has been confirmed that a similar pattern has been appearing worldwide as found in the “A Crisis of Public Care System and Women’s Labor in the time of COVID-19”, an international web conference held by Seoul Foundation of Women & Family(SFWF) in December 2020.

SFWF has studied ‘Changes and Challenges in Women’s Work Before and After COVID-19’ to analyze the impact of economic crisis caused by COVID-19 on the women’s labor market in Seoul. The study derived meaningful analysis results. First, the impact of job and income loss due to COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women, especially young women. The decrease in employment was mainly seen in unstable jobs including female temporary and daily workers in industries and small business where face-to-face contact is inevitable. Moreover, a gender-based occupational and industrial segregation have intensified since COVID-19. Therefore, there is a high demand for policies on strengthening the social safety net in response to such crisis.

Research Summary on
 「Changes and Chal-
lenges in Women’s
Work Before and After

Meanwhile, to commemorate the International Women’s Day on March 8th, SFWF conducted an online survey targeting 717 female workers who had experience of working from home to examine their current situation of telecommuting and domestic/care labor. In terms of positive aspects related to telecommuting, respondents mentioned ‘reduced stress on unnecessary human interactions (33.5%)’ and ‘increased intimacy with family members due to increased face-to-face time (24.9%)’ as the most positive outcomes, respectively. In terms of negative aspects, the highest response was ‘increased burden on domestic and care labor (27.7%)’ followed by ‘deterioration of health due to reduced outdoors and physical activity (26.5%)’.


What are some of
the positive/negative aspects of
spending more time at home
due to COVID-19?
(Multiple Responses allowed)

graph graph

When asked what they needed the most to solve the difficulties caused by telecommuting, 21.2% of the respondents answered that ‘increase in public care services’ is crucial. 37.2% of the respondents said that ‘increased stress from carrying out domestic and care labor simultaneously’ was the most difficult aspect in terms of household matters after COVID-19.

As such, women are facing a situation where they cannot escape the burden of domestic and care labor as they experience untact labor along with the labor crisis caused by COVID-19.

See the Results of
‘Gender Equality Life


- Kong Ju (2021). “Changes and Challenges in Women’s Work Before and After the COVID-19”

- Seoul Foundation of Women & Family (2021). “Gender Equality Life Encyclopedia: Telecommuting”