14 May 2020 

Fawcett Society Chief Executive Sam Smethers said: 

"We welcome the extension of the furlough scheme and the announcement of the introduction of part-time furloughing, which we have been calling for. It will be more flexible and responsive to women's lives.

"Women are disproportionately in low paid, frontline jobs. Our research shows that women frontline workers already feel under greater pressure to work. Relaxing the lockdown now with ambiguous messaging and without clear direction on how to keep staff safe is only going to make that worse.

"Women are also the ones taking on the majority of additional unpaid care work because of school and nursery closures. It is predicted that 10,000 nursery providers will go out of business, but there is no reference to this in the Government's plan. We desperately need a childcare infrastructure if we want and expect parents, particularly mothers, to be able to get back to work."

"Social care has been nothing but an afterthought in this crisis. It is a scandal that older people and the social care staff who care for them, 84% of whom are women, many on the minimum wage, have been such a low priority for government. It is time to start valuing women, and valuing our social care workforce."