On International Women’s Day we share our latest factsheet exploring the key statistics on Volunteering and Gender: changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The data shows that more than one in four (2.7 million) women in Australia volunteered formally in 2020, and almost one in three (3.3 million) volunteered informally.
The differences in volunteering activity by gender changed significantly during the pandemic with major changes to the proportion of women and men volunteering. Throughout the pandemic, women were more likely than men to volunteer formally on a weekly basis.
Data also shows that women were twice as likely as men to report that they did most of the unpaid domestic work (80 per cent compared to 39 per cent) and more than three times as likely to report that they did most of the unpaid caring responsibilities (38 per cent compared to 11 per cent). Women were also more likely than men to have lost jobs and paid work hours during lockdowns.
The pandemic took its toll on everyone, this cannot be denied. Women however felt the effects with more women taking on greater responsibility for the care of children in home schooling environments, home duties and continuing with volunteering responsibilities.
Despite the greater responsibility there are many benefits to volunteering. Volunteering Australia research showed volunteering during COVID-19 lockdowns provided people with opportunities for social connection and a sense of purpose.
Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Support for women in their working and family lives is needed. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.
We need to better understand how the pandemic has affected women and to consider this as part of the COVID-19 recovery, so that society can break the bias towards women.
Thank you to all the women who continued volunteering during the pandemic and going above and beyond to hold up your family and community. On International Women’s Day, we salute and support you.