New research aims to reduce gender inequalities caused by COVID-19 policies

Friday, 07 May 2021

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Academics at Oxford Brookes University have been awarded a share of €5.2 million to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected equality in 31 European countries.

The RESISTIRÉ project (Responding to outbreaks through co-creative inclusive equality strategies and collaboration) is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, and involves an international consortium of ten partner organisations and a network of researchers from the EU, the UK, Serbia, Iceland and Turkey.

Pandemic has affected women more than men

Dr Anne Laure Humbert, Director of the Centre for Diversity Research Policy and Practice at Oxford Brookes University said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis as well as a humanitarian, economic and social crisis. We know, for example, that women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic than men. Unemployment, rises in reports of domestic abuse, financial difficulties, physical and mental illness are all consequences of society being shut or partially shut down during the pandemic. This project will address the range of inequalities experienced by different groups of people throughout the pandemic.”

Over the next two years the project team will collect and analyse extensive data to drive further research, policy recommendations and innovative pilot actions which will provide a fairer social recovery.

Understanding how COVID-19 policies have impacted on diverse groups

Academics from the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice and the Institute for Ethical Artificial Intelligence at Oxford Brookes University are collaborating in the RESISTIRÉ project by developing an app which will gather data on the impact of COVID-19 policy responses on behavioural, social and economic inequalities.

“By reporting their experiences in this app, participants are helping to advance vital research on inequalities stemming from how governments and societies have responded to the pandemic,” says Dr Selin Nugent, Assistant Director for Social Science Research at the Institute for Ethical AI.

“Combining participant reports with software algorithms will allow us to predict groups and regions that could be impacted negatively by policy decisions. These negative impacts could include increases in unemployment, exaggeration of wage gaps, unequal distribution of care responsibilities and increases in domestic violence to name a few.

“Ultimately, we’ll be able to understand existing problems with policies related to the pandemic, and potential future solutions which will help to rebalance inequalities.”

The app will be made available and open for participation to adults (over 18 years) in the UK, EU27, Serbia, Iceland and Turkey. It will be available to download on the iOS and Android platforms in Autumn 2021.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101015990.

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