In the United States, COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting women as frontline healthcare workers, caregivers at home, and community leaders and mobilizers.
Closures of schools affect women as they continue to pick up more of the informal childcare responsibilities within their families, limiting their ability to work and seek economic opportunities. More than 75% of caregivers are women according to the Family Caregiver Alliance and women spend up to 50% more time caring for a family member than men.
Women are most likely to work in jobs without labor protections like paid leave and in fields that are left vulnerable by social-distancing and shelter in place mandates. Women make up 60% of the lower-paying workforce. Almost 30% of the female workforce is low wage, in contrast to less than 20% of the male workforce
One industry that isn’t completely shutting off due to COVID-19 is the restaurant industry as access to food is listed as an essential business. Two-thirds of tipped restaurant workers in the U.S. are women and restaurant employees are risking their health to keep us fed up to 65% of workers in the restaurant industry do not have paid sick leave.
According to the US Census, in the United States, women hold 76% of all healthcare jobs. In particular, women make up 85% of nurses in the country, where they are on the frontline of patient interactions.
In response to the gender inequality within the crisis UN Women has issued a set of recommendations, placing women’s needs and leadership at the heart of an effective response to COVID-19:
- Ensure availability of sex-disaggregated data, including on differing rates of infection, differential economic impacts, differential care burden, and incidence of domestic violence and sexual abuse
- Embed gender dimensions and gender experts within response plans and budget resources to build gender expertise into response teams
- Provide priority support to women on the frontlines of the response, for instance, by improving access to women-friendly personal protective equipment and menstrual hygiene products for healthcare workers and caregivers, and flexible working arrangements for women with a burden of care
- Ensure equal voice for women in decision making in the response and long-term impact planning
- Ensure that public health messages properly target women including those most marginalized
- Develop mitigation strategies that specifically target the economic impact of the outbreak on women and build women’s resilience
- Protect essential health services for women and girls, including sexual and reproductive health services and
- Prioritize services for prevention and response to gender-based violence in communities affected by COVID-19
Run Women Run is deeply grateful to everyone who continues to work hard to keep us safe and healthy throughout this crisis.
Women will continue to step up and ensure the safety of our community in this time of crisis. Run Women Run is here to support those amazing healthcare workers, grocery store workers, and community leaders.
If you believe now more than ever we need women at the table to make decisions that impact our families, health, and community, then find out how you can help us elect more women in San Diego: www.runwomenrun.org/get-involved