As Equal Pay Day approaches on March 31 and Women’s History Month ends, we offer the following on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting women locally:
Most health and social care workers are women. They are now on the front lines in confronting the virus.
School closings significantly affect women because they make up 77 percent of teachers and because mothers head 84 percent of single-parent households, says PowherNY, which is committed to securing economic equality for all New York women.
As they juggle schedules for caregiving responsibilities, women here in the 21st Congressional District earn 82.1 percent of what men earn, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. They frequently patch together part-time jobs that garner lower wages and fewer benefits.
Many women have few or no resources to weather any crisis, especially the drastic loss of income from the coronavirus.
Our current crisis demonstrates how women’s work is vital to the functioning of our society. It is an opportunity to recognize how their work is woefully undervalued, under-appreciated and underpaid.
In time, this crisis will end, but the need for paid sick leave, equal pay policies, access to affordable and quality child care, job training and closing the employment opportunity gap will continue. Future planning, funding and legislation should and must address these issues.
League of Women Voters of Saratoga County
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