Women’s History Month is observed every March to celebrate the contributions of women politically, economically, and culturally throughout the history of the United States.

But with the widely felt impacts brought on by the coronavirus recession, it is also a time for acknowledging the struggles women are facing in the U.S. economy when it comes to the labor market and monopsony power, the child care crisis, and pay equity. Recent research demonstrates that these are all areas that have plagued women in the workforce, particularly women of color, historically and right up to today, and need to be addressed specifically as women claw their way out of this recession.

A recent “Expert Focus” from Equitable Growth highlighting scholars studying the well-being of workers during the coronavirus recession featured Michelle Holder, an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. Holder’s research discusses the disproportionate impact of the current crisis on Black women and notes that these harms are rooted in historical and persistent disparities that crowd Black women into low-wage work with high layoff rates during economic downturns.

Another economic phenomenon that disproportionately affects women is monopsony, a market structure that occurs when workers have few suitable outside job options, so employers use their greater market power to take advantage of these labor market conditions by pushing down wages for workers. Kate Bahn, director of labor market policy at Equitable Growth, and Mark Stelzner of the University of Connecticut demonstrate how women may be more likely to face difficulties in finding a job due to disproportionate care burdens and lack of access to wealth, leading to lower pay levels.

Read the full article about Women's History Month during COVID-19 by Delaney Crampton at Equitable Growth.