An exploratory study on underutilisation of women in the New Zealand labour market during the COVID-19 lockdown
Publish Date: Monday, 7 August 2023

Kunchana Wanniarachchi & Indrapriya Kularatne




The global impact of COVID-19 is still being assessed, and its influence on gender equality is not fully understood. The workforce impacts of the global crisis have been greater on women than on men. This study investigates whether women were underutilised more than men in the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand. An in-depth literature search was conducted on underutilisation of women, focusing specifically on topics such as gender inconsistencies and increasing levels of female poverty during the pandemic. The study is based on a quantitative approach using data published by various New Zealand government institutions, and shows that working women in New Zealand were underutilised during the pandemic compared with working men. This investigation revealed that gender inequality in the labour market was increased after COVID-19. The findings of this research may be helpful in developing policies in the areas of temporary unemployment benefits, subsidies for unexpected childcare needs and further support on highly impacted industries during the pandemic specifically focusing on the New Zealand female labour force.

Keywords: underutilisation; COVID-19; gender equality; female workers.


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