Women on the Front Lines

Vox: The economic crisis exacerbates how much we undervalue women’s work

Equity, Women on the Front Lines

Look one layer deeper, and you start to see a picture of what these workers look like. The April unemployment rate was 13 percent for men and 15.5 percent for women; it is 14.2 percent for whites, 14.5 percent for Asians, 16.7 percent for blacks, and 18.9 percent for Hispanics. And across every racial group, the unemployment rate for women is higher than it is for men. And many essential jobs are disproportionately held by womenpeople of color, and those who are already vulnerable.

“Very few people realize the extent to which women are these frontline workers and essential workers that we’re talking about,” Ness said.

The coronavirus crisis has exposed many cracks in the system and exacerbated longstanding inequalities. Take, for example, the gender pay gap: Women make about 80 cents to the dollar compared to men, and for black and Hispanic women, the statistics are much worse. Women with full-time employment lose a collective estimated $900 billion each year. Now, in the global pandemic, government officials have shuttered broad swaths of the economy. Those making less money before, and therefore less able to save, have a harder time weathering the storm.

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