Pandemic debt, childcare responsibilities exacerbates struggles for women | Monday Morning Coffee

Nearly 85 percent of respondents have some form of caregiving responsibility, and almost half of respondents left or reduced hours at their job due to shifts in childcare since March 2020

By: - August 8, 2022 6:30 am

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Good Monday Morning, all. 

Increased debt and childcare responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic have left women, especially women of color, struggling financially, according to the Equal Rights Advocates, a national gender justice organization.

The Family Voices Amplified survey, which polled 637 women from over 15 different cities across the United States, found that the majority of participants have had to take on debt since the COVID-19 pandemic due to a reduction in working hours due to increased caregiving responsibilities.

“Even before the pandemic, unequal pay, workplace discrimination, and a lack of affordable childcare put women at a financial disadvantage—all of which is heightened for women of color,” Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates said. “These community responses confirm what we’ve all suspected. The pandemic exacerbated all of these issues, and while white men, as well as higher-earning white women, are returning to some form of normalcy, low-to-middle income Black and Latinx breadwinners have been set years behind in their careers and financial goals.”

According to the results, nearly 85 percent of respondents have some form of caregiving responsibility, and almost half of respondents left or reduced hours at their job due to shifts in childcare since March 2020.

Additional Findings: 

  • More than a quarter of survey respondents expect childcare responsibilities will delay or prevent returning to previous levels of employment,
  • More than a quarter expect childcare responsibilities will delay or prevent the beginning or continuing education,
  • Twenty percent of respondents expect childcare responsibilities will delay or prevent achieving long-term financial goals,
  • Eighty-six percent experienced one or more of the following shifts in employment because of the pandemic: layoff, furlough, decrease in hours or wages,
  • Seventy-seven percent experienced some form of discrimination in their current employment.

“It’s clear that women of color, in particular Black and Latina women, have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and will feel the impact on their finances for decades to come unless action is taken,” Farrell said. “This will only worsen as access to abortion and reproductive health care options force unplanned pregnancies. There are major changes that must be made in our economic system if we want to create financial stability for all Americans. These include affordable childcare, fair pay and job security, protection from discrimination, rental assistance, and debt relief.”

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