Coronavirus-Related Job Losses Are Affecting Women At Unequal Rates
As businesses continue to shutter their doors in wake of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, millions across the country have lost their jobs. The virus has hit hard at American workers but its women who are paying a majority of the price.
According to recent reports, women account for nearly 60% of the early job cuts.
A recent report by the Labor Department has found that “more than 700,000 jobs were eliminated in the first wave of pandemic layoffs last month. Nearly 60% of those jobs were held by women.”
Of course, most likely the disproportionate job losses come at the hands of the fact that many jobs are largely divided by gender. As an example women make up a large part of service industry positions– 7% of restaurant waitstaff are women. The education and health services sectors are the second hardest0hit sectors. According to the BLS data, both sectors have experienced a loss of 76,000 jobs. These sectors are largely dominated by women. As Refinery29 reports, “secretaries and administrative assistants (93.4% women), office clerks (81.1% women), and receptionists and information clerks (89%) are among the top 20 most common occupations for women and are also being hit hard by business closures and drastic social distancing measures.”
What’s more, Black and Latino women have been affected by the current unemployment rate than white women.
For minority groups, there’s no denying that COVID-19 has had extreme effects. According to reports COVID-19 deaths have appeared at disproportionate amounts in African-American and immigrant communities. In New York, where COVID-19 deaths have reached all highs, nearly a third of New York City’s infections are in Queens- a city with one of the most diverse populations in the world. More alarming is the fact that the hardest-hit neighborhoods are ones populated by undocumented and working-class people.
In a recent interview with Democracy Now! Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Trump’s response to the pandemic for its part in the many deaths occurring across the United States highlighting them “deaths of incompetence,” “deaths of science denial” and “deaths of inequality.”
What the future will look like for these groups is unclear.
When it comes to the umbrella of unemployment, the U.S. Department of Labor reported another 6.6 million new insurance claims this past week. This means that in just the past three weeks alone, over 16 million people have filed for unemployment.
We know women always pop back, that we endure with our strength, but we will need the help and support of the government to do so this time around.