The COVID-19 crisis cost women around the world $800 billion in lost income in 2020, Oxfam said on Thursday, as it demanded steps to tackle gender inequality.

Women, overrepresented in low-paid, precarious sectors like retail, tourism, and food services, lost more than 64 million jobs last year, said the charity, a 5% total loss, compared to a 3.9% loss for men.

The pandemic has "dealt a striking blow" to recent gains for women in the workforce, said Oxfam Executive Director Gabriela Bucher, in a written statement.

The $800 billion figure, based on International Labor Organisation data, likely underestimates the total cost shouldered by women since it does not include wages lost by millions of women in informal jobs.

COVID-19 unleashed an economic storm that has hit the poor and vulnerable hardest. Women lost their jobs at a faster rate than men due to many women working in hard-hit industries like restaurants and hotels.

Women in the informal economy lost out due to having little or no health care, unemployment benefits, or other protections.

Even before the virus struck, women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of daily unpaid care work — from cooking and cleaning to caring for sick relatives — a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year.

Read the full article about COVID-19 and gender equality by Sophia Sun at Global Citizen.