Last week we launched the results of the National Income Dynamics Study: Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey, which showed that 3-million people have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown, two-thirds of them women. As we now contemplate whether to close schools again, we must acknowledge the associated costs — for families and especially women and children.

The government has the incredibly difficult task of balancing plague and famine. What our earlier results showed was that the costs of the lockdown and the pandemic have been felt mainly by the poor, the less educated, those in the informal sector, and especially women. Only 5% of the rich have lost their jobs, compared with 38% of the poor (where the poor are those earning R3,000 or less a month and the rich are those earning upwards of R24,000 a month)...

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