Women are disproportionately more likely to leave the arts industry as a result of the pandemic, campaign group Parents and Carers in Performing Arts has warned.
In its submission to a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry looking at how the pandemic will impact the creative industries, the body warns that the “loss of talent from the industry is a clear risk” and claims uncertainty and insecurity will “drive people to seek employment elsewhere”. It raises particular concerns about women with childcare or caring responsibilities and how this will impact their work.
PIPA highlights a survey it did of members, which showed that 43% of parents or carers were considering abandoning their career because of the pandemic.
“Overnight, parents and carers feel unsafe and more vulnerable. Many have already been forced to look for permanent work outside the sector and almost half say they are considering leaving the sector,” it warns.
PIPA said that its research showed those who leave the industry will disproportionately be mothers and female carers, and those without social capital to fall back on.
“There is a real risk of further exacerbating the gender gap in the industry if parents are forced to choose between home schooling their children or working should children remain off school and unable to access breakfast and afterschool clubs for an extended period of time,” it states in its submission.
It backs calls from the Trades Union Congress to “protect women’s incomes during the Covid-19 crisis” through a more limited form of the job retention scheme beyond October, which would support parents who are unable to return to work because of childcare responsibilities.
Its submission also warns that the needs of parents and carers, and especially of women, “were not quickly and, in some cases, have not yet been, considered”.
It highlights how people on parental leave were not eligible to be furloughed initially, and says women on maternity leave who were not due to return to work until after June 10 do not qualify for furlough due to the cut off date and “therefore face a greater risk of redundancy”.