Carrying the work burden of the COVID-19 pandemic: working class women in the UK. Briefing note 1: employment and mental health

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Nottingham University Business School Working Papers


Publication date

October 15, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. It is generating deep problems for many of the working population in the UK but also impacting in starkly different ways that can narrow or reinforce existing inequalities or create new inequities in working lives. The experiences of working class women are our core interest: how are they faring compared with middle class women and with men overall? For some working class women, e.g. domestic cleaners and non-essential shop workers, the pandemic puts jobs at risk and cuts hours. For others in close contact with customers, clients and patients, it brings work intensification and life-threatening health risks in unsafe work environments. Working class women are disproportionately likely to be employed in frontline roles and so are exposed to the mental and physical stresses of carrying out precarious and risky work in uncertain times. How did women fare overall compared with men, and to what extent were the working lives of employed women impacted differently according to their class? This briefing explores overall patterns in employment and mental health.




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