By Stephanie Ebbert

Policymakers and advocates worry coronavirus crisis will set women back

In Massachusetts, women made up 53 percent of those who filed new unemployment claims between March 15 and April 25 — a big shift from February, when they represented just 38 percent, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

That’s why C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, has taken to calling this economic crisis a “she-cession.” Unlike the 2007 to 2009 recession, which targeted the male-heavy industries of manufacturing and construction, the coronavirus closures detonated the leisure, hospitality, and health care sectors whose employee bases skew female. Still, the law center’s analysis shows, women lost even more jobs in those sectors than the numbers would predict. Policymakers and advocates are concerned that even when the economy reopens, many of them will remain out of the workforce.

“There’s not going to be 100 percent job replacement,” said Mason. “Some will be gone forever. That will have a long-term impact on women workers.”

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