Ensuring mothers and families have the resources to remain economically secure, while also serving as caregivers will determine how our country rebounds from the pandemic’s “she-cession”. With thousands of mothers leaving the workplace due to caregiving responsibilities, women have been hit the hardest. There will be no gender-equitable recovery without significant investments in the care infrastructure.
One mother from Arlington, Virginia says, “I recently left the workplace having spent almost 15 years as a health care public affairs professional when the pandemic arrived. I, like many, experienced unpredictability primarily because I live in a situation where I was working full-time and no longer had child care.”
Access to reproductive rights is directly related to women’s experiences in the labor market. For women remain in the workforce and advance their careers, they must have access to high quality reproductive health care. Economic security is closely tied to reproductive justice, and without measures to ensure quality care, women remain at a significant disadvantage.
Thus, a key aspect of economic recovery includes eliminating the Trump Administration’s domestic “gag rule” and repealing the Hyde Amendment. These measures allow additional funding for abortion services and clinics, increased access to contraception and OBGYN services, and a more equitable landscape for women and communities of color.
Closing the wage gap is a crucial measure to create an equitable economy. Women are almost forty years from reaching pay equity with men, and the timeline is even longer for women of color. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act would protect employees against retaliation for discussing salaries, increase salary transparency, and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.
Pay reporting by gender and race is another effort to increase transparency and hold companies accountable. In 2021, California will be the first state to require this data collection. This requirement is a major step toward creating fair and equitable workplaces for women and individuals of color.
As the country looks to recover from the pandemic, women must be centered in relief packages, recovery plans, and federal legislation. Prioritizing women in the recovery is essential as we work toward an equitable nation.