The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the working-class population – and the worst effects are borne by women. Surveys indicate during the months of lockdown, women all over the world lost their jobs while men have gained more jobs overall.
Bureau of Labour Statistics makes a conjecture that women losing jobs is mainly because a majority of women are employed in sectors that are still shut down – such as schools, daycare, personal grooming, fashion boutiques, hospitality, lifestyle management, and so on. Another primary reason is that children are sitting at home due to schools being shut down, and that has created pressure on many working mothers to spend time in taking full-time care of their children.
December 2019 was phenomenal for women, December 2020 was a disaster
A report by CNN states that there has been only one time in history that women held more jobs than men – during the short period of late 2019. But even then, the huge pay gap between women and men still existed and most of the jobs women held were part-time jobs.
But despite all the drawbacks, women were making progress towards equality. The pandemic brought a shocking disaster on the working women.
The latest data released by the Bureau of Labour Statistics says that just in December 2020, the US companies fired 156,000 women and hired 16,000 men – accounting for a total loss of 140,000 jobs. (All these are net numbers that show an overall change over a period of time.)
Black and Latina women have suffered, while White women have gotten more success
Another survey of self-employed workers showed a more horrifying truth. Apart from the gender gap, there is also a huge racial gap that hs has hurt people.
Black and Latina women have lost jobs while White women have gained work during the pandemic. Among women, Latinas currently have the highest unemployment rate at 9.1%, followed by Black women at 8.4%. White women have the lowest unemployment rate at 5.7%.
Why are more women getting fired though?
Companies firing women en masse and preferring to hire men might seem bizarre and unexpected to the most common population – but this is exactly what Economists feared would happen.
Employers generally see women as workers who cannot give their undivided attention to work at the office, since they also have family responsibilities to attend to. So when it comes to cutting costs by firing employees, women become an easy target for companies. The dangerous combination of patriarchy and capitalism doesn’t bode well for working women.
The CNN report says that Black and Latina women mainly work in sectors that have been severely affected by the pandemic – and most of these working fields don’t allow sick leaves or the option of working from home.
C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research said:
“Those sectors are less likely to have flexibility, so when employers are inflexible or women can’t come to work because of caregiving responsibilities — they have to exit the workforce.”
At the beginning of 2020, women held 50.03% of the jobs in the US but ever since the pandemic started – 5.4 million women and 4.4 million men in the US have lost their jobs.
Featured Image Courtesy: CNN