COVID-19 Lockdown and Mothers’ Employment

Geoffrey M. Ducanes, Ateneo de Manila University; Vincent Jerald Ramos, Humboldt University Berlin


Impacts and Responses in Southeast Asia


Hard lockdowns have a larger negative impact on the ability to work of women who have children who are minors compared to women who do not have children who are minors. Among Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is among the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of both the number of infected and its economic toll. A big reason for the relatively large negative economic impact of the pandemic in the country is the hard lockdown imposed at the beginning of the pandemic in the country’s three most populous and economically-important regions: Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon. Using logistic regression on pooled LFS data for these three regions, we show that female household heads or female spouses with children were about 5 percentage points less likely to have work during the hard lockdown when compared to female household heads or female spouses without children, even after controlling for important covariates. Moreover, having more children who are minors increases the negative impact of a hard lockdown on their ability to work. A big part of the explanation is the increased domestic responsibility of women during hard lockdowns, given that children are forced to be at home and to do distance learning.

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CCSEAS Conference 2021 |