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The Covid-19 and working lives projects

Carrying the work burden of Covid-19: Working class women in the UK

Working Class Women and Covid - Final report

Our research focusses on addressing the grand challenges facing society. Here you can find out how we are contributing to research investigating the issues raised by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Working class women are carrying the burden of the extra physical and emotional labour being generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new research project led by Professor Tracey Warren. These women care for children, sick and frail elderly, clean buildings, cook and serve food, administer institutions and staff shops, while retaining major responsibility for domestic work and caring at home.

The Women's Budget Group (WBG) highlighted that 2.5 million of the 3.2 million workers employed in the highest risk roles during the pandemic are women, many in low-paid roles. There is little detailed attention to their experiences and needs and how to urgently support them in their essential work.


This project is focusing on identifying and responding to the difficulties experienced by working class women across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We are analysing data from the ESRC's flagship 'UK Household Longitudinal Study', including vital new information being gathered on the impact of COVID-19. This is a large nationally-representative study as the pandemic effects roll out during 2020 and into 2021.

Policy aims

This project is delivering a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the pandemic. With the Women’s Budget Group, it is disseminating findings and urgent policy solutions to employers, unions, government, key charities and lobby groups. Addressing these findings is crucial if working class women are to continue to carry the additional strain of increased work and home demands during the pandemic.


How is COVID-19 impacting women and men’s working lives in the UK?

Expanding on project 1, our second project examines the social impacts of Covid-19 on the UK’s labour force through a gendered lens to better understand gender inequalities in working lives in the UK.

The new project analyses three ONS datasets: Coronavirus and the social impacts on GB; Business Impact of Covid-19 Survey; and Labour Force Survey (Person).

In addition to the existing project’s policy aims, this project examines how the workplaces of women and men, and their types of work, are impacted as the pandemic effects roll out.

Our final project webinar took place on 18 June 2021. A recording of the event is available here.

Read our briefing notes




Professor Tracey Warren (Principal Investigator), Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham

Professor Clare Lyonette (Co-investigator), Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick

Dr Luis Torres (Co-investigator), Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham

Partner organisation: 

Women’s Budget Group (WBG)


Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19; and Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), as part of the rapid funding call to use and enrich the data within the Data & Connectivity National Core Study (NCS) capability.


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