FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 23, 2021 Contact: Erin Weber | (646) 719-7021 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC – The new infrastructure bill floated by the Biden Administration plans to prioritize spending on roads, bridges, waterways, and rails. It also includes funding for retrofitting buildings, safety improvements, and schools infrastructure—all male-dominated sectors. Women, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by job and income losses during the pandemic, will be left out unless changes are made.
“There is a need to broaden our definition of infrastructure to include care: childcare, eldercare, and healthcare, and build a 21st century workplace that enables women to reach their full potential and advance in their careers without fear, harm or harassment,” said C. Nicole Mason, President/CEO, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
“I cannot seem to shake the feeling once things get back to normal, the Nation will forget about women and all they have gone through this past year. We cannot afford to let this happen.”
It is indisputable: since the start of the pandemic, women have experienced asymmetrical effects of a COVID-incited economic downturn. In August, when schools were slated to re-open, 865,000 women fell out of the workforce. During the month of September, four times as many women left the workforce than men.* In January, nearly all of the job losses were by women, Black and Latina women specifically.
The unemployment rate for Black Women and Latina women is 8.5 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, down from nearly 16 percent in February. These rates reflect the number of women who have been unemployed for 26 weeks or more or who have stopped looking for work all together.
The intersection of motherhood and work has certainly made the economic downturn more excruciating for women. More than 50 percent of women report that they have had to stop working or reduce their hours because of caretaking responsibilities. And many more have contemplated leaving the workforce all together.
For an equitable recovery there is a need for investments in:
- A national care system that is able to meet the needs of all families, raise wages for workers, and provide high-quality child care regardless of race, ethnicity, or geographic location;
- A robust social infrastructure that provides income supports and increase short-and long-term investments in social safety net programs; and
- Education and training opportunities for women to enter into higher paying occupations and sectors.
There is also a need to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
*Edited on 4/1/21; Originally said “since the start of the pandemic women have lost four times as many jobs as men”.