Immigrant Women in Canada Are Falling Behind During the COVID-19 Pandemic

November 5, 2020

By Global Citizen |

Immigrant women are feeling the brunt of the negative economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — and it may not get better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reignited public debate on the adverse socioeconomic effects on women engaged in both paid and unpaid work. There have been some specific conversations about health care workers and academic professionals.

Generally, women experience greater work inequality, including high unemployment as well as increased child care and elder care burdens.

Despite Canada’s dependence on immigration to curb the impacts of an aging population and sustain high levels of economic growth, skilled foreign professionals often encounter deskilling, downward career mobility, underemployment, unemployment, and talent waste, and find themselves in occupations that are not commensurate to their education and experience.

Immigrant women also encounter particular vulnerabilities due to their gender responsibilities, which influence their employment experiences.

What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant women’s employment? Our interdisciplinary research team at Carleton University conducted an in-depth survey of 50 high-skilled immigrant women in July and August of 2020 asking about their employment experiences during the pandemic to understand the gendered effects of the pandemic on deepening social and especially gender-based inequalities.

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