The Many Consequences of COVID for Women

COVID impacts women in myriad ways. They can contract the virus and are more likely to be exposed. Women are 52% of essential workers; many are low paid workers without paid leave or health insurance, so they are impacted by a COVID illness not only physically, but financially. 75% of healthcare workers and 90% of nurses are women; not surprisingly 73% of the healthcare workers who have been infected are women. Women, especially mothers, earn less than men—about 81 cents on the dollar, so when childcare facilities closed and schools began remote learning, the mother was the one who stayed home or reduced their hours in two parent families. Job loss also came from closures of hard-hit service industries, where women make up almost twice as many of the workers as men. Four times as many women have left the labor market as men, decreasing their current and future income and retirement. They may never get back into the workforce or recoup the financial loss. Working mothers must juggle the care of children who are now at home rather than in childcare or school, adding to the extra work women already have on the home front. If American women had fairer pay for their jobs, pay equity, paid leave, and access to affordable childcare their suffering would be lessened.

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