TIME'S UP Impact Lab

Nevertheless, It Persists: New Report from TIME’S UP Examines Vicious Cycle of Sexism

Equity, TIME'S UP Impact Lab

Today, TIME’S UP Foundation released a new report, “Nevertheless, It Persists: Disrupting the Vicious Cycle of Institutionalized Sexism.” Amid COVID-19 and resounding calls for racial justice, the paper aims to bring the vicious cycle of racism and sexism – and the need for urgent action – into sharper focus.

“The COVID-19 crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement are driving home a painful truth: our system was built to make sure that those who already have power can keep it. As a result, the most vulnerable workers in our economy – women of color and low-paid women – are bearing the brunt of this crisis,” said Dr. Rakeen Mabud, director of research and strategy at TIME’S UP Foundation. “In the long recovery ahead, we need to proactively tackle institutionalized sexism and racism to build a new system that puts the historically excluded at the center of our decision-making and generates better outcomes for all.”

The report synthesizes decades of data and research to illuminate how institutionalized sexism has oppressed women for centuries. The authors further explain how racism and other exclusionary frameworks interact with sexism – and each other – to create an interlocking system that has shaped our institutions. As a result, those who have been historically excluded from progress – women of color, low-income women, and non-binary people – continue to be left behind.

The report draws on a case study of child care policy to demonstrate how institutionalized sexism plays out in practice. The lack of investment in public child care policies, the authors argue, has its roots in institutionalized racism, sexism, and xenophobia, which allowed those in power to frame child care as work that should be undervalued and under-compensated. This results in a self-perpetuating loop that holds women back from earning more and accumulating wealth, and effectively cuts women out of access to powerful positions.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on the need for collective child care solutions, we can better understand how our current lack of public investment in child care is infused with institutionalized sexism and racism,” said Julie Kashen, director of women’s economic justice and senior fellow at The Century Foundation. “Building a robust child care infrastructure based on the principles we lay out in this paper is an important start for building a gender equitable economy and society.”

The authors conclude by offering guiding principles and immediate and long-term solutions – from closing gender and racial wealth gaps to diversifying and expanding access to decision making – to help leaders tackle the policies and biases that have held women back for generations.

“As leaders across government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector work together to tackle the ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis, this report helps us better understand the systemic inequities that the pandemic exploited in the first place,” said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Foundation. “Now is the time to fundamentally alter the discriminatory and unequal systems the pandemic has laid bare and build a future where all people – women first and foremost – are treated with the safety, dignity, and respect they have always deserved.”

Read a two-page summary of the report or download the full report here.

TIME’S UP Foundation

The TIME’S UP™ Foundation insists upon safe, fair, and dignified work for all by changing culture, companies, and laws. We enable more people to seek justice through the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™. We pioneer innovative research driving toward solutions to address systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace through the TIME’S UP Impact Lab. And we reshape key industries from within so they serve as a model for all industries. The TIME’S UP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.