Added: Lynde Kilkenny - Date: 14.01.2022 08:17 - Views: 34763 - Clicks: 2951
A grocery store worker stands behind a protective plastic screen as she works the cashier at a supermarket in Miami, April It has upended the lives of hundreds of millions of people, decimated economies, and brought the hustle and bustle of daily life to a standstill. While much of the U. Women of color often stand at the intersection of multiple barriers, experiencing the combined effects of racial, gender, ethnic, and other forms of bias while navigating systems and institutional structures in which entrenched disparities remain the status quo.
Many women of color have to grapple with negative stereotypes and attitudes that affect how they are treated at work, whether they can provide care for their families, and whether they can access the quality health care that they need without bias and discrimination.
Now, the aggressive spread of COVID is creating new obstacles with far-reaching implications for the ability of women of color—and all individuals—to survive, thrive, and participate in an economy that works for all. Understanding these concerns can help reveal in stark terms where there are inequities that must be addressed and what interventions are needed to support families. Early state data showing higher rates of COVID contraction and mortality among African Americans only amplify the importance of examining the different biases that could be playing a role in the spread, treatment, and containment of the disease.
Furthermore, the inadequate supports for essential frontline workers providing care and critical services—including nursing assistants, home health aides, and grocery store cashiers—demand close scrutiny, as the needs of these workers can no longer be minimized, ignored, or devalued. Women of color disproportionately work in many of these jobs where there are unspoken expectations of availability to provide care and services for others; yet there is too little examination of the challenges these women face, their workplace obstacles, and their family needs.
Responding effectively to the COVID pandemic requires a real-world understanding of the daily struggles that women of color face and the critical role they play in their families and communities. The rapid, unrelenting spread of the virus raises several challenges that are particularly important to address: widespread economic and employment instability, skyrocketing caregiving needs without sufficient supports, and added pressures exacerbating workplace barriers that already limit opportunities. These challenges should not be viewed in a vacuum, but rather understood in the broader structural and cultural contexts in which they occur.
Long-standing structural inequities—fueled by racism, sexism, ethnic stereotypes, and other forms of bias—have created an uneven landscape that makes it difficult for many people of color to secure jobs with solid wages and opportunity for White female needs access quality health care that is timely and responsive; and reside in communities with the essential services necessary to live healthy lives.
Furthermore, deep-rooted cultural attitudes and stereotypes about women of color have too often devalued their work and deprioritized their needs, leaving them without helpful supports. Both of these dynamics play a role in shaping the experiences of women of color and the potential impacts of the COVID crisis. Women of color are integral to the economic stability of their families. Any erosion of their earnings would be disastrous, worsening instability and robbing families of essential resources.
Data consistently show that, across all family structures, women of color play a vital role in providing economic support on which their families rely to make ends meet. In families with children, many White female needs of color who are mothers are also breadwinners, meaning that they are the sole earner for their family or earn as White female needs as or more than their partner. Looking at families more broadly, data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement show that Hispanic women—of any race—and Black women are far more likely than white and Asian women White female needs be single he of households and, therefore, the main source of support for their family.
In contrast, white women headed only In addition to the substantial economic responsibilities for their families, women of color continue to experience pay disparities that reduce their overall earnings and undermine their economic stability. Women of color consistently earn less than their white and male counterparts. Among full-time, year-round workers, for every dollar earned by white men, Hispanic women earn 54 cents, Native women earn 57 cents, Black women earn 62 cents, white women earn 79 cents, and Asian women earn 90 cents.
For example, among full-time, year-round workers, Nepali women earn 50 cents and Cambodian women earn 57 cents for every dollar earned by white men. Furthermore, many women of color are less likely to have the wealth and savings necessary to go for an extended period of time without earnings—something that is now necessary on a massive scale as people lose their jobs due to COVID Mitigating the effects of COVID must take into all of these economic realities for women of color.
In order to help all families—especially those that are most vulnerable—stay afloat, state and local policymakers should evaluate any relief strategies to assess their effectiveness in addressing the immediate and long-term challenges associated with gender and racial gaps in wages and wealth. These strategies should include increasing access to income supports, such as paid leave, that provide full wage replacement; making increased pay available for essential workers; requiring increases to the minimum wage; eliminating subminimum wages for tipped workers and workers with disabilities; and bolstering equal pay enforcement.
Policymakers should also invest in tools to help improve access to banking and other financial services for low-income individuals, as such services would allow them to strengthen their credit and financial records, giving them a pathway toward building savings. Individuals who lack a bank are disproportionately Black and Hispanic: Inan estimated For many women of color, the current pandemic hits squarely at the crossro where they are most vulnerable—and they face perils regardless of whether they go to work or are required to stay at home.
A CAP analysis of occupational data disaggregated by race and gender shows that women of color disproportionately comprise workers in jobs such as maids and housekeeping cleaners, nursing assistants, personal care aides, and home health aides. For example, an estimated The percentages vary for different groups of women of color. Hispanic women represent an estimated Meanwhile, an estimated 54 percent of home health aides are women of color, with Black women comprising more than half of the women of color in these jobs.
And the majority of manicurists and pedicurists are women of color, with the largest percentage comprised of Asian American and Pacific Islander women. In addition to identifying the jobs in which women of color are disproportionately represented, it is also important to look at women of color overall and examine the jobs in which they work the most.
Among all employed women of color, the largest percentage work in occupations such as cashiers, registered nurses, and elementary and middle school teachers. While the top jobs vary slightly when examined by racial group, there is ificant overlap.
Many of the top jobs in which women of color work—such as nursing assistants, home health aides, and child care workers providing emergency child care—are included in the of jobs deemed by many jurisdictions as essential; thus, these women are required to go to work in the face of an unprecedented crisis. Women of color working in jobs deemed essential may confront higher risks of contracting COVID because of their proximity to infected individuals, infected environments, or the virus itself.
And some groups may be more at risk than others. For example, nearly one-third of all nursing assistants and home health aides are Black women. Furthermore, because many workers in essential jobs were excluded from the emergency protections adopted in the COVID relief packages that were recently ed into law, many of the health workers most directly at risk may have less access to job protections if they choose, or need, to stay home.
Stories about the experiences of health workers in certain hard-hit areas reveal that a lack of access to paid sick leave has forced some to go to work even when they did not feel well. They may need child care for longer periods of time, placing additional pressure on their family budgets, because their children are not at school. White female needs highlights the need for emergency, affordable, quality child care. Although many women of color work in essential jobs, they also disproportionately work in several of the industries hit hardest by job losses. Recent data from the U. Department of Labor show that the accommodations and food services industry and the health care and social assistance industry have been among those hardest hit by severe unemployment.
Many of the women in these industries are dealing with massive layoffs and business closures, resulting in lost wages and few options to make ends meet. Even in the health care and social assistance industry, which includes many occupations that are deemed essential for public health purposes, a of smaller facilities and social and community services may be closed or ificantly reduced.
Many of the jobs in which women of color work are among the lowest-paying occupations. These women are least able to afford losing any portion of their income, and they often have critical gaps in protections. Researchers have found that low-wage workers are far less likely than high-wage workers to have access to critical work supports such as paid sick days and paid family and medical leave. The disruption to employment caused by the spread of COVID is likely to exacerbate long-standing challenges faced by many women of color as they navigate the labor market.
Both gender and race have been shown to lessen the likelihood of moving from low-wage work to higher-paying jobs. Additionally, in some of the industries where women of color disproportionately work—such as the accommodations and food services industry—workers tend to have lower rates of job tenure, meaning that it may be harder for them to show continuous years of experience and demonstrate their ability to move up and acquire greater levels of responsibility. This may also translate into workers with lower rates of job tenure having less access to leave and supports and less of the security and stability that come from holding the same job for a longer period of time.
The accommodations and food services industry has among the lowest job tenure rates: U. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on private sector employers show that inthe median years of tenure with a current employer in the accommodations and food services industry was 2. Effective responses to the current crisis must acknowledge and address these long-standing problems so that they do not simply reinforce a status quo that has held back too many women of color. It is essential that policymakers prioritize funding for employers with demonstrated success in creating advancement opportunities for women of color, as well as training programs that have proven track records of placing participants in quality jobs.
Employers and programs that cannot show such positive outcomes should be prohibited from receiving COVID relief funds from the federal government. Women of color frequently experience higher unemployment rates than their white counterparts. The COVID crisis has led to an unprecedented escalation in unemployment: Nearly 10 million workers filed unemployment claims during the final two weeks of March During the recovery from the Great Recession, for example, Black women had higher rates of unemployment and longer spells of unemployment than white women.
All of these factors collectively show how disruptions to the employment of women of color could be devastating for families that rely on their earnings to make ends meet. Businesses with or more employees are not covered by new requirements to provide eligible workers with up to 80 hours of paid White female needs leave and an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for children if their school is closed. Furthermore, even those who can access the new protections may encounter problems due to the limitations of both laws.
For example, the FFCRA only provides 80 hours White female needs paid sick leave for workers who need to stay home if they are sick or self-quarantining, which may not be adequate for workers infected with COVID Although it is unclear how the current crisis will evolve over the coming weeks and months, the employment barriers that women of color frequently encounter highlight the need for longer-term interventions that could stretch for years. Given the outsize roles that many women of color play in caring for their own and other families, the earnings gaps they experience are even more ificant.
Like all women, women of color frequently are tasked with the primary caregiving role in their families—expected to care for family members who are sick, take family members to medical appointments, and make caregiving arrangements. These views frame caregiving as more familial and personal and have led to both unpaid and paid caregiving work—and those performing the work—being considered less valuable, less important, and, at times, less worthy of respect. These attitudes about caregiving and caregivers have deep, historical roots.
During the earliest years of the United States, all women were limited in their ability to participate in the economy—often excluded from certain types of jobs by law and confined to jobs consistent with societal views about the roles and working conditions that were perceived as appropriate for women. Because of the combined effects of entrenched racial, gender, and ethnic biases, women of color historically have not been seen as equal to white women or men—and little White female needs has been given to their personal needs and challenges.
The assumption has been that they are always available to work for others and that this work should always take precedence over any personal concerns that they might have. Research with focus groups of Black women in the state of Washington, for example, found that several were concerned about how taking time off would be perceived at work and whether it would affect their evaluations. Women of color are frequently caught in an economic bind, with caregiving needs that outstrip their resources. Although the cost of procuring care is high, care workers themselves White female needs often low-paid and therefore lack economic resources.
Many of the frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis, for example, may not have the additional resources necessary to afford child care. Researchers have found that caregiving-related costs, such as medical expenses White female needs costs for paid care support, on average, consume a larger percentage of the overall income of many families of color than white families. The COVID pandemic exacerbates the fact that many women of color already must navigate different biases in the workplace that affect their ability to find, retain, and succeed in a job. Even though important gains have been made over the years, discrimination is still a reality that limits opportunities for women of color and hinders their progress up the career ladder.
For years, women of color have faced challenges related to persistent wage disparities and a lack of senior management opportunities—and they continue to face these challenges today. CAP research analyzing unpublished data on sexual harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC found higher s of charges in several industries in which women of color disproportionately work, including accommodations and food services, retail trade, and health care and social assistance. The current environment of heightened uncertainty in the labor market and anxiety among workers only increases the need for strong, proactive enforcement efforts to combat discriminatory practices.
Access to quality health care has important cost implications for women of color and their families. Although data are limited, there are early indications of racial differences in COVID infection and death rates. For instance, data collected in Wisconsin and Michigan show disproportionately higher shares of Black residents dying from the virus in those states.
For women of color specifically, an emerging body of research has drawn attention to systemic biases in the health care system that lead to doctors and other health professionals too often dismissing or ignoring the symptoms of women of color, minimizing the pain they are experiencing, and misdiagnosing serious diseases.
In the current crisis, it is essential to ensure that women of color have access to the health care services they need in order to ensure accurate, efficient, and comprehensive diagnoses and health interventions.
Costs associated with this care—from access to testing to protective equipment, available drug treatments, and participation in health trials—must be covered by federal funding supports, and there must be adequate, continuous oversight to identify disparities in treatment and outcomes. Policymakers must prioritize seven steps to ensure that policy interventions related to the coronavirus are responsive to the challenges facing women of color.
It is essential to ensure that all workers, including women of color, have access to work-family protections, especially during the COVID pandemic. Workers should have the ability to take off the time that they need to recover when they are sick and to care for their families.
Federal policymakers can provide these supports by building on the policies adopted in the recently enacted COVID laws. New measures should provide comprehensive paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, with expansions to provide low-income workers with full wage replacement and extend coverage to workers currently excluded, including the many workers deemed essential, as well as those employed by large and small business.
Federal subsidies should also be available for small businesses as needed in order to assist them with the implementation of these provisions. Furthermore, any new steps that are taken should make clear that workers cannot be discriminated against or denied job opportunities because they have caregiving responsibilities.
In addition to work-family protections, it is vital that policymakers ensure that workers on the frontlines of the COVID crisis have access to the full range of supports that they need. This requires not only ensuring that workers have the proper protective equipment, which is critical, but also providing them with key services, such as emergency child care and housing, that enable them to go to work without putting their families at risk.
Future relief packages should include funding to bolster the availability of such services and to provide essential workers with stipends or other targeted funds that could be used toward emergency expenses. Many women of color affected by COVID work in low-wage occupations and industries, and it is critical to minimize their earnings losses as much as possible.
Policymakers should take steps both to raise their normal earnings and to provide for additional income in order to respond to unique challenges created by the current emergency. Subsidies provided to employers to help keep their businesses afloat should also be used to increase wages, consistent with policy proposals such as increasing the minimum wage and eliminating subminimum wages for workers who rely on tips as well as workers with disabilities.
Workers in jobs that are hazardous or that pose greater risk of exposure to COVID should be able to access targeted services and interventions in order to make their workplaces safer; they should also receive additional compensation beyond their regular earnings White female needs maximize the support they receive.White female needs
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On the Frontlines at Work and at Home: The Disproportionate Economic Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Women of Color