RELEASE: What Women and Families Need in Response to the Coronavirus Crisis

Washington, D.C. — On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data showing that nearly 11 million women have lost their jobs since February, representing 56 percent of all job losses in that same time period. In particular, women of color, particularly Black and Latina women, are suffering most in this labor market. The unemployment rate among all female workers ages 20 and older is 13.9 percent, while the unemployment rate among Black women has surged to 16.5 percent and 19 percent for Latinas. Women are also more likely to work in essential jobs and caregiving roles that put them on the front lines of exposure to the coronavirus. And as a result of structural racism in health care, housing, the economy, and more, women of color are disproportionately likely to experience the chronic health conditions that put them at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Black and Native American women are especially at risk, as their communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 infections and deaths.

In light of the economic and health shocks caused and exacerbated by the coronavirus, today, the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress released a new column and an update to “What Women Need,” its policy agenda of bold ideas needed to support women and families in this time of crisis. With a particular eye to gender and racial equity, the policy ideas focus on a range of issues, including ensuring women’s access to health care, strengthening women’s economic security, and guaranteeing women’s civil rights and ability to participate in U.S. democracy.

“The coronavirus has destabilized women’s fragile foothold in America’s economy—suffering the majority of job losses and being underrepresented among job gains. This is particularly true among Black and Latina women. Not only does this threaten the financial health of themselves and their families, but it also poses significant challenges—in the middle of a pandemic—to women’s ability to maintain quality health coverage and to access comprehensive health care, including reproductive health care. Policymakers need to take bold action to make the structural changes needed to protect and advance women’s physical, financial, and civic health and to confront the scourge of racism and sexism holding families back,” said Shilpa Phadke, vice president of the Women’s Initiative at CAP.

Please click here to read the column: “What Women Need in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic” by Nora Ellmann, Robin Bleiweis, and  Shilpa Phadke

Please click here to view the interactive and updates: “What Women Need: An Agenda to Move Women and Families Forward” by Shilpa Phadke, Robin Bleiweis, and Nora Ellmann

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at .

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.