Who suffers the most financial hardship under lockdown?
The pandemic lockdown has been an extraordinarily difficult time for a lot of people.
Emotionally, physically and financially, there have been a multitude of challenges that have arisen throughout the past year. And not all of them have yet been overcome.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently released an analysis into the economic effects of the coronavirus lockdown measures. According to this study, the people worst affected by the intense restrictive measures have been women and young people.
Because of the role women have in caring for children, their "disproportionate burden... may jeopardise their employment opportunities" said the report. This leaves women in a much more economically vulnerable position, particularly if they don't have another source of income.
The financially adverse effects on young people comes as a result of their tendency to rely on less stable, and more labour intensive jobs. Jobs which exist in industries that have been heavily restricted by the lockdown measures.
It's important to note that while lockdowns have been a key factor in the creation of this economic hardship, the voluntary mask wearing, social distancing and staying at home that was happening even before restrictions came into place also had a significant effect. It's likely that things won't be completely 'back to normal' until the virus is completely under control or annihilated.
Because of this, getting rid of the lockdown isn't going to solve all the issues. But it will make a difference. The IMF has recommended that the best way to deal with the economic hardship, particularly among those most vulnerable, is to move away from repeated lockdowns and begin to resume the economic activities that so many rely on for incomes, with safety measures in place, giving laborers less contact-intensive work and making sure those working from home have adequate internet access.
Things are hard right now, but these restrictions won't be in place forever. While they do last, stay safe and stay hopeful.