The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing women in the US out of the workplace in droves, putting them at risk of years of unemployment and financial uncertainty.
US employers cut 140,000 jobs in December, all of which were held by women, according to government data released on Jan. 8. Women accounted for 111% of December’s employment losses and lost 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) found.
“The impact on women of this crisis is going to be one that they feel economically for years to come,” Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the NWLC, told Fortune.
“We’re really in danger of widening gender and racial wage gaps — and that has huge impacts for the financial security of women, and of the families who are depending on women.”
The disparity in job losses can be attributed to the types of industries most impacted by the pandemic, which include education, hospitality, and retail, specifically clothing and accessories stores, and are dominated by women. An uptick in COVID-19 cases has also forced cuts in the hospitality and leisure industries, according to Fortune.
What’s more, many mothers are being pushed out of the workforce due to the imbalanced care burden and who, without child care or schools open, are being forced to stay at home with their children.
Women of color, who are more likely to work in industries that lack paid sick leave and work from home flexibility, were especially impacted by job losses, according to CNN. Roughly 154,000 Black women left the workforce in December, which was the largest one month drop since the beginning of the pandemic in March and April 2020, NWLC found. Latinx women currently have the highest unemployment rate at 9.1% followed by Black women at 8.4%. Meanwhile, white women have the lowest unemployment rate at 5.7%.
Read the full article about job losses during COVID-19 by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.
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