10-25-2020 Women to Watch - Flipbook - Page 42
By Andrea K.
The pandemic has hurt everyone.
But it hurts women more.
he COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges
for families, turning homes into a chaotic mix of home
schooling and teleworking.
But guess who bears the brunt of our new way of
life? That’s right: women.
Women are taking on more responsibilities than men, just as
they did before COVID-19. We in general were already doing more
of the housework and more of the child care duties, but the pandemic has amplied the issue.
Men have stepped up their roles in the family
since the 1960s. But even in a time of “Me Too” and
women’s liberation, we nd ourselves falling into
traditional gender roles. The pandemic has heightened the inequalities that still exist between even
the most enlightened men and women.
Take a recent study by Boston Consulting
Group that found working families have struggled
with juggling work and home life as the pandemic
has closed schools and limited recreational activities outside the home. Completing work duties
with young kids running around has proven challenging, according to the study, which surveyed
working parents in the U.S., United Kingdom,
France, Germany and Italy.
The whole family is suffering, but women even
more. On average, women are doing 15 more hours a week of domestic duties, the Boston Consulting Group found. So all the ladies
who feel as if the dirty dishes never get clean and the laundry pile
never shrinks, you’re not experiencing wild delusions.
It can all be quite annoying and bad for our mental health.
Snapping at your spouse a little more these days? Aren’t we all?
It can also have serious economic consequences for some women.
The International Monetary Fund is worried that COVID-19
could result in a rollback of economic gains that women have made
in recent years. We’re already starting to see some of the consequences.
Because women take on more household responsibility, they
may stop working or be slower to return to work after a shutdown than men, suppressing their wages. After all, somebody has
to stay home and watch the kids as child care is slowly returning,
and make sure they are participating in online learning and not
ditching school to play video games. More often than not, it’s Mom
or another female caregiver or guardian. Unemployment among
women was two percentage points higher than men from April to
June, according to IMF.
Women are also more likely to work jobs in retail, tourism and
hospitality that put them in the direct line of COVID-19 transmission. They take the risk of going to work and bringing the disease
home to their family — or not working and not
being able to pay the bills or buy groceries. And
that’s if they still even have a job. These are also
sectors that have been hit nancially hard by the
pandemic, resulting in large-scale layoffs, wage
cuts and other cost-saving measures.
And guess what? When you don’t have a job
and you’re not bringing in enough income to pay
your bills, that brings on a whole other host of
That is why women, particularly Black women,
are most in danger of facing evictions once moratoriums are lifted. A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley and the University of
Washington that looked at more than 9,000 Baltimore eviction court cases from 2018 and 2019
found that those kicked out of their homes were
far more likely to be Black women. Blame it on disparities in housing access, income equality and discriminatory housing policies.
And that was before the pandemic.
The plight of these women likely hasn’t gotten better — and
may have gotten worse. A recent moratorium on evictions issued
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may mask the
problem for a short time, but housing advocates say it won’t go
away without rental assistance for these families. Without it, the
country will just be grappling with a homeless crisis instead.
We can only hope that the pandemic not only exposes these issues, but also brings about change, such as better pay for women.
Some workplaces are already offering more exibility, something
that is easier to execute with women working from home. But we
need policy changes that result in a work culture shift that better
protects all women.
Andrea K. McDaniels is The Sun’s deputy editorial page editor. Her email is email@example.com
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