- New City Hall analysis shows women disproportionately affected by employment issues, made worse by the pandemic
- Figures show a large increase in domestic abuse during lockdown
- Sadiq is working with London and global leaders to tackle gender-based inequality as part of the capital’s Covid recovery
Women in London are more likely than men to be unemployed or economically inactive, and were more likely to have had their working hours reduced or been placed on furlough earlier in the pandemic, according to new analysis publicised today – on International Women’s Day – by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
City Hall analysis of ONS data shows that:
- The unemployment rate for women in London is currently higher than for men. In London, female unemployment was 7.2 per cent in the three months to December, compared to 6.7 per cent for men.
- Unemployment among women in London has increased 3.5 percentage points over the last year, compared to 2 percentage points for men – suggesting that more women who were previously on furlough have subsequently lost their jobs and become unemployed than men.
- Economic inactivity is more prevalent among women than men, both in London and nationally. The female economic inactivity rate is 23.2 per cent in London compared with 24.5 per cent across the entire UK, while the male rate is 16.1 per cent in the capital compared with 17.3 cent nationally.
The figures published today follow research commissioned by Sadiq last year which revealed that women have experienced disproportionate economic, social and psychological impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mothers were 47 per cent more likely than fathers to have lost their jobs or resigned from their jobs, and 14 per cent more likely to have been furloughed. 
There has also been a very concerning increase in domestic abuse over the last year, with calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increasing by 49 per cent in the three weeks after the first lockdown on 23 March, and the Metropolitan Police recorded a 6 per cent increase in domestic abuse offences between March 2020 to December 2020 – compared to the same period in 2019. In 2020 as a whole more than 94,500 domestic abuse offences were recorded. 
Since 2016, the Mayor has invested a record £62.7m in tackling all violence against women and girls, which is working to save lives, reduce waiting lists and keep doors open for vital specialist support services for victims. City Hall has also invested £2.5m in innovative programmes focused on addressing the behaviour of perpetrators of abuse.
Today on International Women’s Day, the Mayor reaffirms his commitment to ensuring London’s recovery from the pandemic creates a city where all women are safe and can thrive.
Sadiq is working with global leaders and sharing best practice internationally through ‘CHANGE’ (City Hub and Network for Gender Equity) – a ground-breaking international network of cities committed to advancing gender equality which London co-founded last year.
Sadiq has been developing best practice policy to tackle gender inequality. In London, he has championed annual reporting on the gender pay gap which is now almost zero, as well as making provision for shared parental leave to offer new parents increased choice. Last year, almost three-quarters of learners whose courses were funded by the Adult Education Budget – which Sadiq is responsible for – were women.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As a proud feminist, I will never stop striving to improve the lives of women and girls in London. The analysis I have published today exposes the unacceptable gender inequalities in our city that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“I am committed to ensuring our city’s recovery from this pandemic works for women. Through my London Recovery Board we will address the pattern of rising unemployment and economic inequalities, and ensure our city is a safe place where all women can thrive.”
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “Home has not always been a safe place for everyone during the pandemic and we have seen an increase in cases of domestic abuse during lockdown. On International Women’s Day, as we reflect on the impact the pandemic has had on women’s lives, I am deeply worried about the long-term impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on levels of domestic abuse. We know that the adverse economic impacts of the pandemic increase the vulnerability of women to domestic abuse. City Hall has been funding safe spaces and specialist support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and their children since the first lockdown, helping to support over 250 victims and 100 children to flee to safety. But we need to see continued and long-term investment from the Government in refuge and community services that are struggling to meet rising demand.”