As New Zealand’s strictest level of lockdown comes to an end, figures reveal the workers who bore the heaviest burden on the frontline were more likely to be women. Kirsty Johnston reports.

One day during the long weeks of coronavirus lockdown, Wellington nurse Katrina Hopkinson stopped mid-shift to hold a patient’s hand. He was a teenager, recovering from surgery, and he was very scared.

Nurse Katrina Hopkinson says person-to-person contact is important, but draining, when nurses are already working extra shifts and long hours to keep up with coronavirus. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Public policy expert Jess Berentson Shaw said the caring work done by women has been ignored as essential. Photo / Supplied

Data shows 80 percent of healthcare workers are women. During level 4, women made up two in three frontline workers. Photo / File

Home support worker Sisi Palu, from Mangere, said despite having adequate PPR, she still felt nervous of passing the virus to her family or other elderly clients. Photo / Dean Purcell

Phillipa Mayers, a checkout manager at New World in Auckland’s Mt Roskill, said she has been working extra hours, but knows it’s important to keep her community fed. Photo / Supplied

Minister for women Julie Anne Genter says pay transparency – asking businesses to reveal their pay scales by gender – would help achieve pay equity. Photo / File

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