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The COVID-19 crisis has affected working and living conditions in all EU member states, unveiling and exacerbating existing social, economic and gender inequalities. Gender differences in the labour market impacts of the pandemic pose new short-term and long-term challenges to gender equality. In the absence of targeted policies to tackle these challenges, even the progress made thus far to narrow the gender gap is at risk of being rolled back. Has the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic-driven economic crisis created a “she-cession” adversely affecting women’s employment status across Europe? How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the unpaid care burden and living conditions of working parents? Has the pandemic also opened up new opportunities to correct structural gender inequalities? Which labour, family and social welfare policies and company practices could help to achieve a more gender-equal recovery? The contributions in this Forum shed light on the pandemic’s direct effects on women and gender equality.

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Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Open Access funding provided by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.