The continued economic recession caused by the coronavirus is having a disproportionate effect on moms and women of color. It’s harming women in almost every aspect. C. Nicole Mason, president, and CEO of the Insitute for Women’s Policy Research spoke on a CNN podcast about the changes.
“We’re talking about women who earn less than $40,000 a year, who are … grocery store clerks, restaurant workers, who if you don’t show up for work — meaning a physical place — you won’t be paid,” Mason said on an episode of “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction” podcast. “So it’s just a really very difficult time for many of these women and many of these workers. ”
Mason explained that women have jobs in sectors hardest hit by the virus, hospitality, education, healthcare, and the service sector. And women of color are a significant portion of this workforce, “So women of color are overrepresented in service sectors. Black and Latino make up 26% to 28% of those workers. Those women are having a really hard time re-entering and getting back into the workforce. Many of these women were struggling before the pandemic and this economic downturn.”
In the interview, Mason also pointed to the lack of childcare and an increase in remote learning as affecting mothers. According to research, women have reduced work hours four to five more times than men to care for children during the pandemic.
11 million jobs that were held by women evaporated between February and May. Gains that were made by women in the workforce have all but stopped. William Spriggs, a professor in the Department of Economics at Howard University and a former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor during the Obama administration told PBS, “We cannot continue to go through these economic spasms, where we lose a decade of job growth. And that’s what’s happening,” Spriggs said. “And so the people who have been left out, just as we get to the point where they get included, their resumes get stronger, their ability to withstand job losses gets better, then we send them back down the hill.”
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