Abstract is for: Momentum Quarterly – Journal for Societal Progress
Momentum Quarterly is a transdisciplinary free open-access scientific journal, aiming to improve the discursive and thematic connection between research and policy practice.
The global pandemic of Covid-19 has a wide range of effects on the realities of work and living conditions for many people in Europe. This has become particularly evident for issues concerning gender relations, diversity, and social cohesion, in which the pandemic has acted as a catalyst that intensifies already existing unequal developments: Heterosexual couples with children rely on women’s unpaid work once more for home-schooling and care work; loss of paid work, longer periods of lockdowns or lay-offs have led to financial and psychological problems for adults, youth and children.
Aspects of gender and diversity are often displaced due to seemingly ‘more important’ issues in politics. At the same time LGBTIQ* and reproductive rights have been diminished in specific EU member states in the shadow of the pandemic, and Gender Studies has been claimed to be an ideology and not a scientific approach. Studies on unpaid social reproduction and paid work show the unequal development of income and support for working mothers or single parents, while the digitalization of the workplace and home-office have shifted working environments further into the private household, dissolving boundaries of paid and unpaid work, public and private realms. These developments show that concepts of diversity and equality are only meaningful if they lead to a change in legal rights and give recognition to differing social backgrounds, as highlighted in intersectionality studies.
In the wake of the long-lasting impact of the global financial and economic crisis in the global North and South, the global Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath already shows that global North-South relations will further change and might intensify, and that gender relations and the recognition of diversity not only as a workplace concept but as a vision for further inclusion of intersectional identities remain to be implemented. Once recovery budgets are set in place, a just distribution between economic sectors and the implementation of gender budgeting measures and gender mainstreaming will need further monitoring.