From February to May, 11.5 million women lost their jobs compared with 9 million men – underlining how women are more vulnerable to sudden losses of income
C Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), said: “We didn’t do enough in the 2008 recession to make sure there was an even recovery, and what I am hoping this time around is that we learn those hard lessons and we make sure the communities who are most impacted, that there are targeted programs to make sure they are able to recover successfully.”
In this economic crisis, job losses have shot across industries where women, particularly Black and Latina women, held a disproportionate number of jobs, such as hospitality, leisure and education.
Hispanic women experienced the steepest decline in unemployment, 21%, in this recession, though their employment was essentially unchanged in the Great Recession. When employment figures rebounded slightly in May, they did so for every population except Black women, one in six of whom were unemployed that month, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.
Women gained the majority of jobs between early May and early June, but are still farther from pre-coronavirus employment levels compared with men, according to an IWPR analysis.
Those improvements were not reflected in childcare services, where employment is still a quarter below pre-pandemic levels. With children possibly going to school remotely in the fall, this is a problem for women inside and outside the sector, because they tend to be the primary caregiver for children in heterosexual couples.
“Many of the challenges that are facing women of color workers, issues around childcare, issues around lower wages, issues of lack of flexibility and lack of job security, have all been made worst by the pandemic,” Mason said. “So the situation for women who were struggling before the pandemic has only gotten worse.”