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Health Impact Asssessment: The impact of the COVID-9 pandemic on women, employment and health inequalities

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on society, including on people’s health and the economy, with some people being more negatively impacted than others. Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU)’ s recent Health Impact Assessment found that women of working age and in workforce faced a greater impact from the pandemic.

The report highlights how women from certain groups such as those affected by violence and abuse, those with chronic conditions and/or disabilities, female carers, lone mothers, younger and older women, women from ethnic minority backgrounds and those who are low-earners faced exacerbated inequalities due to the pandemic.

The Health Impact Assessment demonstrates how restrictions implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 impacted mental and physical health issues and contributed to education gaps, difficulties in employment, lost employment and financial insecurity. The assessment also highlights that women were at an increased risk of domestic violence due to the social distancing and quarantine measures. Women’s charity Refuge saw a 60% increase in monthly calls from April 2020- February 2021 compared to the start of 2020. Police in England and Wales recorded a 6% increase in domestic-abuse related crimes for the year ending in March 2021. Out of 2.3 million people who are known to have experienced domestic abuse for the year ending in March 2020, around 69.6% of them were reported to be women.


The Health Impact Assessment recommends actions that could mitigate the impact of the pandemic, with a focus on the important role employers have in ensuring people are not further impacted as a result of existing inequalities. These recommendations include improved access for women to mental and physical health services along with other welfare and support systems, as well as providing and publicising mechanisms for safely reporting issues, and taking account of the additional pressures on working women during a public health crisis by offering flexible hours and deadlines.

To read more about the pandemic’s impact on women’s mental and physical health and socio-economic factors click here: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women, Employment and Health Inequalities - World Health Organization Collaborating Centre On Investment for Health and Well-being (phwwhocc.co.uk)