November 10, 2020
Contact: Keri A. Potts | 860-839-3438 |

New IWPR Report Shows Economic Recovery Hinges on School Reopenings, Strong Care Infrastructure, and Putting Women Back to Work

Washington, DC — According to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the United States cannot afford or sustain a prolonged exodus of women from the labor market and must take immediate actions at the federal and state levels to get women back to work. Without dedicated efforts to revamp the care infrastructure, provide immediate relief to families, and get schools and businesses reopened, an economic recovery is not possible.

Build(ing) the Future: Bold Policies for a Gender-Equitable Recovery applies an intersectional lens for plans to address the unique features of the current recession. The report makes the case for broad public investments and policy reforms that will create high quality jobs, raise wages and labor standards, and strengthen child care and healthcare infrastructures. In addition, it outlines ways to eliminate historic and persistent gender and racial inequities such as calling for employers to close the pay gap and providing assistance to Black-owned small businesses and others left out of the first relief effort.

A protracted ‘shecession’ for most women

Since February 2020, women have been exiting the workforce in unprecedented numbers, forced out by the collapse of women-led industries and a decimated child care system that makes them choose between their families’ well-being and a paycheck. And Black and Latina women, single mothers, immigrant women, and lower-wage workers already in precarious financial positions have been pushed to the brink of poverty. Meanwhile, the future of our workforce—young women (ages 16-24)—have experienced significant unemployment.

“The economy has never worked for women. The recession illuminates how decades of pay inequality and inadequate income and social supports, especially for women of color and single mothers, keeps women from accessing economic security and advancement for themselves and their families,” said C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., IWPR president and CEO, adding, “This moment calls for a bold reimagining of our economy – one that centers women, so that it finally works for everyone.” For additional insights and video Q&A from Mason about the report and what this moment calls for, click here.

Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI) said, “Women, particularly women of color, are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Responsive policy solutions to address the public health and economic crises must account for the unique needs of women and their families.”

Policies for Lasting Prosperity

To ensure an equitable recovery from the recession, the new administration and lawmakers must implement a bundle of policies and programs at the federal and state levels that:

  • Establish a national child care system that treats child care as a public good and ensures universal availability and access, federal- and state-level early care education standards and coordination, and increased compensation for early care educators to attract and retain skilled educators;
  • Rebuild the social safety net to provide income supports and increased short- and long-term investments in key programs as well as education and training to enter high-demand or emerging sectors;
  • Provide public sector investments and assistance to states via emergency financial support from the federal government to keep public sector workers employed;
  • Raise job quality and labor standards including an increased federal minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, at least 7 days of paid sick leave and 12 weeks of family medical leave, an expansion of earned income tax credit recipients, an employee-sponsored care subsidy, and a fully refundable child care tax credit;
  • Accelerate the closing of the pay gap through federal and state legislation that aims to reduce pay inequity for women across all sectors and industries;
  • Protect and expand reproductive health care access to ensure women’s full participation and advancement in the labor force while codifying the tenets of Roe v. Wade at the federal level, rescinding the domestic ‘gag’ rule, fully funding Title X, and repealing the Hyde Amendment.

Stories from Impacted Women Shared Across IWPR Platforms

Throughout the week, IWPR will share across its social and digital platforms the stories of real women who are suffering from the pandemic’s many devastating consequences. The report’s landing page will house policy recommendation one-sheets and related social assets while the In The Lead content hub will feature daily posts highlighting these stories within corresponding policy analysis.

Coming Soon

In the coming weeks, IWPR will convene leading researchers, policymakers and advocates dedicated to developing concrete steps to ensure a gender-equitable recovery for women and families.

About Institute for Women’s Policy Research

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research is the nation’s preeminent think tank committed to winning economic equity for all women and eliminating structural and institutional barriers to women’s full participation in the workforce and society.

IWPR builds knowledge and evidence to support policies that help grow women’s economic power and influence in society, close inequality gaps, and improve the economic security and well-being of families. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Contact: Keri A. Potts, IWPR Vice President External Affairs | | 860-839-3438