Stressing that women have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic globally, Facebook on Tuesday said female-led small and medium businesses (SMBs) were more likely than male-led SMBs to report closures taking into account factors like size of business, sector and geography.Nearly 23 per cent of all female business leaders said they spent six hours or more per day on domestic responsibilities compared to only 11 per cent of men, according to the fourth edition of Facebook's 'Global State of Small Business Report'."The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone -- but not everyone equally. Women are more likely to have extensive caring responsibilities, lose their jobs or have pay cuts and feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious," said Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook.Nearly 24 per cent of female business leaders compared to 18 per cent of male business leaders identified "caring for household members" as an area for further policy support, according to the survey of 25,000 SMBs across more than 50 countries."Huge gender gaps at home and in business -- as well as in access to education, healthcare, technology, etc -- have been a bitter truth for as long as anyone can remember, so it should not come as a surprise that they should exist now," Sandberg said in a statement.
The gender inequality was also observed at home.Another Facebook report 'Gender Equality at Home' in collaboration with the World Bank Group, UN Women, independent research firm 'Ladysmith', and civil society and private sector-led partnership 'Equal Measures 2030', surveyed more than 4,60,000 people on the social media platform across more than 200 countries and territories.It found that more than 25 per cent of respondents in most regions reported concerns about having enough food and basic supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic, including more than one-third of women in the US and Canada."Women consistently reported earning less than men and being dependent on someone else financially. A quarter of women expressed concerns about the future of their jobs and that they spent more time on unpaid care and domestic work as a result of Covid-19," Facebook said.The majority of people agreed that women and men should have equal opportunities in education, employment and household decision-making.In South Asia, 89 per cent of respondents agreed that men and women should have equal opportunities."Nearly 68 per cent of survey respondents agreed that most important role for a woman is taking care of her home and children while 42 per cent agreed that household expenses are the responsibility of the man even if his wife could support him," the findings revealed.Women in South Asia were significantly more likely than men to report taking care of cooking, cleaning and household management.