Black, Asian and minority ethnic women in the UK are suffering greater financial and psychological consequences from the coronavirus pandemic than their white counterparts, polling suggests.
Research has already shown that BAME people are at more risk of dying from Covid-19 than white Britons. Now data collected by Survation on behalf of the Fawcett Society suggests they are suffering other effects disproportionately.
Of people who were not in employment due to disability or were retired, more than three times as many BAME women as white women reported that they had recently lost support from the government (42.5% versus 12.7%).
Overall, BAME women as a whole were most likely to believe they would end up in more debt after the outbreak, struggle to make ends meet in the next three months, and be worried about how to pay the rent or mortgage, the analysis, to be published on Monday, found. They also reported the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness.
Dame DonnaÂ Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: â€œThis new evidence shows that those in power have avoided tackling the issues of systemic racism and structural inequalities for far too long, and this avoidance has worsened outcomes for BAME women in particular. Nurses, some of whom are BAME women themselves, see this in their work every day.
â€œThe message is clear: equality and inclusion are the bedrock for good health, prosperity and a cohesive society. It is time for us to all talk seriously about the racism disadvantage some women face compared to the privilege of others, and take action.â€
The analysis, carried out by the Womenâ€™s Budget Group, Fawcett Society, Queen Mary University of London and London School of Economics, was based on a poll of 3,280 people.
It found that of those having to go out to work, concern about having to do so was highest among BAME people, with 65.1% of BAME women and 73.8% of BAME men reporting anxiety about doing so, compared with 60.9% of white women and 52.9% of white men. BAME women working from home were more than a third more likely than white women (41% to 28.2%) to say they were working more than before the pandemic.
It was not just a lack of government support that BAME women complained about. Just under half (48.3%) of BAME women, compared with 34% of white women, said they had lost support from other people.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: â€œAs the government relaxes the lockdown, it must consider the impacts on different ethnic groups and also adopt a gendered approach. The unequal impact of this crisis is driven by existing structural inequalities and discrimination in our society.â€
The report points out that many people had already lost their jobs when the governmentâ€™s furlough scheme was announced and that the recently employed are not covered by it. Additionally, it highlights that a 20% salary cut is substantial for those already on low pay.
Its recommendations include removing barriers to social security, increasing economic support, and ensuring that people can work or isolate safely.
Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of the Womenâ€™s Budget Group, said: â€œIt is particularly concerning that BAME women are reporting limited access to support from the government.Â It is crucial that the government carries out and publishes meaningful equality impact assessments on the impact of both the virus itself and their policies in response to it.â€