Gender inequalities: changes in income, time use and well-being before and during the UK COVID-19 lockdown

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 2, 2020


This report aims to provide basic facts about gender inequality in income, time use, and wellbeing before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. We compare employment, income, time use, and well-being figures reported before and during the lockdown period (late March to April 2020) of the same group of individuals by analyzing longitudinal data from the 2020 UK Household Longitudinal Survey (UKHLS) COVID study and the full UKHLS data. Earlier studies on the topic are based on cross-sectional data with different survey designs and sample selections.

- Women undertake the major share of housework and childcare and form 80% of the health and social care workers who are more exposed to the virus, among people aged between 20 to 49.

- There was a 30% reduction in paid work time for both women and men, and the percentage was 45% among non-key workers. Women and men experienced a similar amount (3-4 hours) of an increase in weekly housework hours. We also note a comparable reduction in monthly labour income for women and men.

- Women, especially mothers experienced a more dramatic decline in well-being amid the COVID pandemic.

- Single mothers fare the worst in the labour market, are the least likely to own a house, have a car in the household, and have the highest risk of depression, which makes them particularly vulnerable in the current circumstances. Single parents experience the largest 7% increase in the non-working rates during the lockdown period.

- Childcare support is critical when the usual support networks, such as grandparents, friends, and neighbours, can no longer help with childcare, especially for mothers.

Published in





CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

Is referenced by: Public Health England. (2020) 'COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report'. London:Public Health England.

Open Access



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