New IWPR survey data show young women’s experience of economic hardship during the COVID-19 crisis varied across racial/ethnic groups and gender and sexual identities—with some struggling more than others. To achieve an equitable recovery, policies should level the playing field by supporting young women who have been hit hardest.
During the pandemic, young women of color and LGBTQ women faced significant career setbacks. Higher percentages of young Black women (29.3 percent), Latina women (27.1 percent), and women identifying as LGBTQ or gender nonconforming (35.7 percent) have experienced career setbacks than their counterparts (24.3 percent for all young women).
Young Black and LGBTQ women are more worried about their finances compared to other groups of women. Higher percentages of young Black women (70.5 percent) and women identifying as LGBTQ or gender nonconforming (62.9 percent) worry about paying their bills sometimes or almost daily than average (55.3 percent for all young women).
A larger share of young Black, Latina, and LGBTQ women received financial assistance from other people in the past year compared with their more advantaged peers. Among those who did, young Black women have less access to financial assistance from their parents (34.6 percent, compared with 70.7 percent young White women), reflecting long-standing, generational disparities in wealth accumulation.
Young women overwhelmingly are in favor of structural policy changes that would benefit them. Nearly 80 percent of young women—across racial/ethnic groups and gender and sexual identities—either somewhat or strongly support forgiving all student loan debt, raising the federal minimum wage, and guaranteeing child care assistance.
This brief was made possible by support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates.