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COVID lockdown sees Turkish women bear brunt of unpaid work, UNDP survey finds

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Turkish women did four times as much household and care work as men during lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, research supported by the United Nations Development Programme showed on Thursday, according to Reuters.

A survey conducted in May on more than 2,400 people showed women shouldered most of the unpaid work during lockdown even though employed men working from home did more household work than before.

The gender gap in paid work narrowed under lockdown as a result of changes in work patterns and a fall in men’s paid work hours, the research found.

But gender gaps in unpaid work and total work time widened: on average women’s workload, including both paid and unpaid work, increased while that of men decreased, the findings said.

“The findings are evidence of the stark reality of the incremental burden of unpaid household and care work borne by women, in addition to the jobs they do,” said Claudio Tomasi, UNDP resident representative in Turkey.

“This situation points to the urgent need for policy changes to bring about more equal sharing of unpaid household work between women and men.”

The issue is not limited to Turkey. Other research has shown working mothers in Europe and the United States took on most of the extra housework and childcare created by lockdown. Women have also been reported to be prone to rising levels of domestic violence.

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