Women on the Front Lines at Work
From health care to home care, restaurants to grocery stores, women workers, low-paid workers, and women of color are on the front lines where workers are at greatest risk for the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women workers are the backbone of our economy — and never more so than in times of crisis.
Women are at the front lines of the current health crisis: nearly 80 percent of healthcare workers and 83 percent of workers who provide social assistance, including child care and emergency services, are women.
As long as I can breathe today, I'm going to use my breath for a purpose.
Dara Kass, MD
an emergency room doctor and TIME’S UP Healthcare founder who cared for patients through telemedicine after her COVID-19 diagnosis
Women-dominated occupations, such as nurses, flight attendants, and personal care aides, are not only among the most vulnerable to getting sick in this global pandemic — they also hold essential jobs that allow the rest of the economy to function. Data shows that women are 45.5 percent of grocery workers, 65.3 percent of pharmacy or drug store workers, and 70.9 percent of health and personal care workers, excluding drugstore workers — making women disproportionately at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs — jobs less likely to have basic workers protections.
Women’s physical and economic health is especially vulnerable. Women comprise nearly 60 percent of workers in low-wage occupations — jobs that pay less than $11 per hour. These jobs are overrepresented in the service industry, which means they have a high impact on the health of the economy and put their workers at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
Low-wage workers are also less likely to have basic worker protections, like paid sick and family leave — protections that safeguard workers and are crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Only 51 percent of employees in the bottom quarter of pay nationally say they get paid sick leave and only one percent say they have remote-friendly jobs.
We should all be valued the same, so who guarantees my safety?
Elizabeth Carrion, a janitor for Citigroup, is one of them. Carrion was told after the fact that she may have cleaned a floor exposed to COVID-19. As she told the New York Times, “‘we should all be valued the same, so who guarantees my safety?’”
Are you a woman working on the front lines? We want to hear from you.
Tell us your story here or share it on social media using the hashtag #WomenOnTheFrontLines.