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新冠疫情危机后的工业:采取促进性别平等的全球经济复苏方案

发布日期:2020-05-12 来源:国际司 浏览:
 
   大多数危机的共同点是,它们对最脆弱和最边缘化的人群(其中大部分是妇女)冲击最为严重。越来越多关于新冠病毒大流行对妇女的影响被记录下来,尤其是对于那些本身就面临着与贫困、种族或残疾等多种形式的歧视的妇女。正如在联合国秘书长《政策简报:新冠疫情对妇女的影响》中提到并被媒体广泛报道的那样,全球范围内的妇女和女童仅仅由于其自身的性别,所遭受的新冠病毒带来的经济和社会影响更大。
除了即刻导致无偿照护工作量增加,家庭暴力问题以及受到不健全的医疗保健系统的影响,与男性相比,大流行的长期经济打击也可能对女性的生产生活造成不成比例的影响。在制定促进经济恢复的措施时,必须更好地理解和考虑到妇女作为工人、企业主和企业家的具体需要和所做的贡献。为了实现有效、包容和可持续的经济复苏,应做到考虑周全,包括获取财政救助、信贷和失业救济、以及消除妇女从事高技能和高薪工作的障碍。
新冠疫情影响了制造业的女性工人和企业家
制造业是受新冠疫情以及随后采取的遏制措施影响最严重的领域之一。世界范围内,除了食品工业以外,大部分制造工业并不被视为必不可少的经济活动,因此商家被迫停工或者缩小生产规模。付款减少、订单取消,输入产品和原材料的供应短缺以及全球价值链沿线的交通运输受到限制,使生产受到破坏,工厂处于停滞状态。
由于企业不得不关闭或严格限制其运营规模,全世界数百万人失业。尤其是那些从事低技能和低收入工作的女性,由于经济困难雪上加霜。
 
属于制造业公司供应商的自雇和非正式员工也被迫停止工作,这损害了他们的生计,他们只有很少甚至几乎没有社会保障可以依靠。非正规经济中的女性在受危机影响最严重的部门中人数过多(相比于男性占32%,女性占42%)。这种情况在中低收入国家尤为严重,在这些国家59%的妇女在高风险部门工作,而男性的比例为39%。
 
男女在制造业不同部门中的参与程度不同,进一步导致他们在危机期间及其后的受影响程度不同。例如,初步信息显示,由于最初的冲击和随后对大流行采取的封锁措施,纺织品和服装部门属于遭受销售损失最高的部门。同时,这也是妇女占比例较高的部门之一。在整个制造业,妇女占工人总数的39%,而在以工资低、工作时间长、性别工资差异巨大为特点的纺织和服装部门中,妇女却占总就业人数的75%。此外,在这些领域的发展中国家的出口公司中女性拥有和/或女性管理的企业的比例最高。
根深蒂固的结构性性别不平等导致女企业家无法平等地获得基础设施,生产资源和采购机会。带有歧视性的财产和继承法阻碍了妇女获得信贷和金融产品及服务。2019年,190个经济体中有115个对女性的就业和创业有至少一项基于性别的法律限制。中小微型企业之间的资金缺口反映了这一现象;尽管平均规模较小,但妇女所拥有的企业在资金缺口中所占比例不均。与男性相比,女性拥有的企业往往集中在利润率低的部门。
 
最近一项对在越南的制造业中小型企业获得信贷的研究发现,在食品、饮料和服装领域,由女性主导的企业被拒绝提供贷款的可能性平均比由男性主导的企业高出三分之一。在木材加工、金属制造、电子、橡胶和塑料等男性密集型产业中,这一差距翻了一番,达到67%,在货币紧缩政策时期,这一差距则进一步扩大到71%。
因此,在获取生产资源方面的结构性不平等加上有关新冠疫情影响的新证据表明,女性的经济和生产生活受到的影响程度与男性不同。当政府试图解除封锁并重新开放经济活动时,目前尚未可知大多数妇女在失业一段时间后是否能够重新进入经济活动中。新冠病毒大流行增加了女性无薪照护和家务的负担(全球范围内妇女和女童承担了75%的家庭护理工作),并进一步减少了妇女进入劳动市场的机会,而这可能会持续比这次健康危机本身更长的时间。制定社会保护措施时必须意识到这一现状,以确保措施针对遭受严重打击部门中工作的妇女。此外,经济复苏计划也要考虑到一些具体的措施,例如提供信贷来支持妇女在强制关闭后重建他们的公司。
 
技术动荡和全球价值链重组初期的大流行:对性别平等的影响
全球价值链和贸易通过提供进入更高价值市场的新机会,为发展、减贫和促进性别平等做出了贡献。而新冠疫情的暴发表明风险应对方案和全球价值链恢复计划需要更具包容性,并包含针对弱势群体的更多保护措施。孟加拉国服装业的情况表明,低收入国家的女工受到国际公司撤回订单的打击最大,特别是当这些公司不支付欠薪或遣散费时。只有更负责任地管理全球价值链并考虑由于新冠疫情暴发导致的失业人员的需求,才能缩小性别工资差异,并且提高女性在制造业劳动市场(尤其是发展中国家的)参与度。
考虑到新冠疫情大流行是在另一个将会导致工业颠覆性变化的事件——第四次工业革命——初期爆发的,这一点就更具相关性。自动化、数字化、人工智能和其他新兴技术正在我们的生产、交流和生活中占据一席之地。关于哪些行业和工种将最明显地受到这些前沿技术和创新的影响,目前仍然存在许多不确定性。新的趋势都指向了同一个方向:那些从事低技能和常规制造业工作的人在这场技术震荡中首先受到冲击。
由于受教育和培训的机会有限,结构性障碍和社会准则,这些低技能和常规制造业工作主要由妇女承担。越来越多先进机器人和机械正在被研发和广泛应用,人们担心,相比于男性,它们将取代更多妇女的工作。由自动化带来的潜在的工作机会减少会加剧由于新冠疫情大流行导致的损失。
因此,除非有针对性地制定政策对策和投资方案,否则加速发展的技术趋势以及全球价值链中根深蒂固的管理模式都可能进一步加剧现有的不平等现象。
女性在包容、有弹性和可持续的全球经济复苏中的领导力
大流行中出现了许多实例,证明女性在应对危机方面具有有效的领导力和独创性。不仅已经有迹象表明女性领导人对当前的危机做出了更好的反应,也有证据表明,女性参与到决策过程中与增加整个社会的收益之间存在联系。联合国通过妇女为普天下采取行动倡议,由女性领导人呼吁共同应对包括工业领域在内的新冠疫情带来的挑战。
我们无论如何也不能忽略联合国秘书长古特雷斯所指出的“与全球经济相关的最严重的全球系统性威胁”:气候变化。制定大流行后的中长期经济复苏措施是政策制定者们唯一的机会,他们可以制定大胆的措施以建立更具复原力,包容性和可持续的经济,并以环境无害的技术重塑工业发展模式。在此过程中,充分利用女性作为领导者、创新者以及工业和环境变革的推动者的全部潜力至关重要。
现在是时候确保每个人在复苏阶段都平等地受益,参与和引导工业发展。为此,工发组织继续致力于增强韧性和包容性,为所有人创造更美好的未来。
Women’s specific needs and potential as leaders and agents of change must be considered for COVID-19 mitigation and recovery measures.
What most crises have in common is that they hit the most vulnerable and marginalized populations—among which women are disproportionally represented—the hardest. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, especially those facing multiple forms of discrimination related to poverty, race or disability, is increasingly being documented. As reported in the UN Secretary General’s “Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women”, and captured widely through media reports, women and girls globally suffer more from the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, simply by virtue of their gender.
In addition to the immediate concerns related to increases in unpaid care work, domestic violence and exposure to the weaknesses of the healthcare system, the pandemic’s long-term economic repercussions are also likely to disproportionately affect women’s productive lives compared to men’s. The specific needs and contributions of women as workers, business owners and entrepreneurs must be better understood and addressed when developing measures to reactivate the economy. All aspects – from accessing financial rescue packages, credit and unemployment benefits to removing barriers for women to perform higher-skilled and better-paid jobs – should be considered for the economic recovery to be effective, inclusive and sustainable.
The impact of COVID-19 on women workers and entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector
The manufacturing sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing containment measures. Around the world, most manufacturing industries were not considered essential economic activities, the notable exception being food processing, thus businesses were forced to close or reduce their activity. Cuts in payments, order cancellations, shortages in the supply of inputs and raw materials, and restricted transport modalities along global value chains (GVCs) have undermined production and brought factories to a standstill.
Millions around the world have become unemployed because businesses had to close or severely restrict their operations, leaving especially those in low-skill and low-income positions, many of which are held by women, in situations of even higher economic distress.
Self-employed and informal workers, who are often suppliers of manufacturing firms, have also been forced to halt their activities, thus undermining their livelihoods and leaving them with little or no social protection to fall back on. Women working in the informal economy are overrepresented in sectors hardest hit by the crisis (42 per cent compared to 32 per cent of men). The situation is particularly acute in lower and upper middle-income countries, where 56 per cent of women work in high-risk sectors compared to 39 per cent of men.
The unequal participation of women and men in different branches of manufacturing further differentiate their vulnerability during the crisis and in its aftermath. For example, preliminary information shows that the textile and apparel branches are among those with the highest sales losses due to the initial shock and the ensuing lockdown brought about by the pandemic. Yet, at the same time, this is one of the branches showing higher rates of women’s employment. While women constitute 39 per cent of the workers in the manufacturing sector overall, in the textile and apparel branches – a sector characterized by low wages, long working hours and significant gender pay gaps, they represent up to 75 per cent of total employment. Also, export firms in these branches have the highest representation of women-owned and/or women-managed businesses in a sample of firms in developing countries.
Deeply-rooted structural gender inequalities result in unequal access to infrastructure, productive resources and procurement opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Discriminatory property and inheritance laws inhibit women’s access to credit and financial products and services. In 2019, 115 out of 190 economies had at least one gender-based legal restriction on women’s employment and entrepreneurship in place. The finance gap among micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) reflects this phenomenon; despite their smaller average size, women-owned businesses account for a disproportionate share of the finance gap. Women entrepreneurs are also disproportionately represented at the micro, small and medium level, and women-owned businesses tend to be concentrated in sectors with lower profit margins than men.
A recent study on manufacturing SMEs’ access to credit in Viet Nam found that women-led enterprises in food and beverages and apparel sectors are one-third more likely, on average, to be denied loans than men-led firms. This gap doubles to 67 per cent in male-intensive industries, such as wood processing, fabricated metal products, electronic and rubbers and plastics, and further increases to 71 per cent during periods of tight monetary policy.
Thus, structural inequalities in accessing productive resources coupled with emerging evidence on the impact of COVID-19, suggest that women’s economic and productive lives will be affected disproportionately and differently from men. As governments seek to lift lockdowns and re-open economic activity, it is unclear if most women will be able to re-enter the economy after periods of unemployment. Their burden of unpaid care and domestic work – women and girls bear 75 per cent of domestic care globally – has increased due to the pandemic and further reduces women’s opportunities to participate in the labor market, potentially for periods even longer than the health crisis itself. Social protection measures have to be mindful of this reality making sure to target women working in severely hit branches. In addition, recovery plans need to consider specific measures, such as granting access to credit to support women to rebuild their firms after forced shut-downs.
A pandemic at the outset of technological upheaval and reorganization of global value chains: implications for gender equality
GVCs and trade have historically contributed to development, poverty reduction and advancements in gender equality by providing new opportunities to access higher value markets. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, exemplifies that risk response and GVC recovery plans need to be more inclusive and contain more protection measures for vulnerable groups. As the case of Bangladesh’s garment industry demonstrates, women workers in low-income countries have been hit hardest by the withdrawal of orders from international companies, especially when these do not pay owed wages or severance. Unless GVCs are managed more responsibly and the needs of those losing their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak are considered, recent gains made in closing the gender wage gap and increasing women’s labour participation in manufacturing especially in developing countries will potentially be reversed.
This becomes even more pertinent considering that the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding at the outset of another phenomenon poised to cause disruptive changes in industry: the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Automatization, digitalization, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies are gaining a foothold in how we produce, communicate and live. A lot of uncertainty remains about which industries and which types of jobs will most pronouncedly feel the impact of these new frontier technologies and innovations. Emerging trends are pointing into one direction: those working in low-skill and routine manufacturing jobs are expected to bear the brunt of this technological upheaval.
Due to restricted access to education and training, structural barriers and social norms, these types of low-skilled and routine manufacturing jobs are predominately held by women. As more advanced robots and machines are developed and more widely introduced, there is concern they will, on average, replace more jobs held by women than by men. Potential job losses caused by automation could add to those losses already happening due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, unless policy responses and investments are appropriately targeted, both accelerating technological trends as well as deeply-rooted management practices in GVCs, could further deepen the existing inequalities.
Women’s leadership for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable global economic recovery
The pandemic has also provided many examples of effective women’s leadership and ingenuity in responding to the crisis. While there are already some indications that female leaders are responding better to the current crisis, evidence suggests a relationship between women’s representation in decision-making and increased social benefits for societies as a whole. Through its initiative Women Rise for All”, the UN is putting women leaders at the forefront of its call to action to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, including in industry.
We must not, however, lose sight of what UN Secretary-General Guterres calls “the most important global systemic threat in relation to the global economy”: climate change. The post-pandemic medium- to long-term economic recovery measures represent a unique opportunity for policymakers to institute bold measures for more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies, and to reshape industrial development towards environmentally sound technologies. In doing so, it is paramount to harness women’s full potential as leaders, innovators and agents of industrial and environmental change.
The time is now to ensure that everyone equally benefits, participates in and guides industrial development in the recovery phase. In this endeavour, UNIDO continues to be committed to promoting resilience and inclusivity to foster a better future for all.
(来源 联合国工业发展组织)
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