As many media outlets have reported, a smaller number of jobs were added to the economy, with overall unemployment rising slightly. Also in the report: the number of women who held jobs fell by 83,000, with 165,000 fewer women holding or looking for work in April rather than March. Unsurprisingly, those statistics showed experiences differently along lines of race. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, unemployment rates for Black, Hispanic and Asian women were 1.8, 1.6 and 1.2 times higher compared to White women.
It’s a trend that extends beyond last month, with conditions over the last year has worsening the already difficult conditions that the gender pay wage gap and other systemic issues put on working mothers. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the unemployment rate for mothers more than double from 3.5% in 2019 to 7.5% in 2020. The figure was worse for mothers of color, with rates being 8.1% for Asian mothers, 10.3% for Black mothers and 10.4% for Latina mothers.
It’s all part of what many are calling the Women’s Recession, kicked off by job losses in many female-dominated industries. However, as the 19th recently reported, while some sectors of the economy are returning to pre-pandemic employment levels, the same can’t be said for a significant number of mothers.
Celebrating all of the mothers should also mean addressing all aspects of their care, including the health disparities Black women face during and after pregnancy. Studies show that while Black women more than twice as likely to die in childbirth regardless of education and socioeconomic status. Yet philanthropic funding for maternal health has not kept pace with the number of pregnancy related deaths among Black women.
Everyone clearly has a role. Advocates are increasingly turning to local and national elected officials to do something about it in their respective legislators. For philanthropy, curbing maternal mortality requires investment specifically in Black maternal health care and solutions that engage inequities undermining health outcomes for Black mothers and their babies.
One of the many projects that deserves support past the holiday is the #FreeBlackMamas campaign. The effort, through several nonprofits and mutual-aid groups, looks to provide bail money to those mothers who otherwise can’t afford to get back to their homes. As Michigan Liberation and the Advancement Project note, 80% of women in jails are mothers, with most of them being single parents or their family’s primary wage earners.
Read the full article about supporting all mothers from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.