Large modifications wanted to convey kicked-out girls again to work – Individuals’s World

Women who have had low-wage jobs, including work in the hospitality industry, have been hit hardest by coronavirus layoffs and special measures are being taken to get them back to work. | Video snapshot

WASHINGTON – Getting the millions of working women who have kicked coronavirus-induced closings out of their jobs back into the workplace will require big changes in funding, social programs, and male-centered attitudes about work and its value.

Three panelists came to this conclusion at a March 31 seminar hosted by the National Press Foundation, a DC-based think tank, to help the country’s journalists improve the depth and quality of their coverage of key issues .

One of them is the fate of working women, especially low-paid women of skin color, millions of whom have lost their jobs, restaurants closed, retailers closed, and child and elderly care opportunities disappeared due to antivirus bans.

The Vice President of the National Center for Women’s Rights, Melissa Boteach, called the resulting recession – really a depression – a “shecession”. That’s because 2.3 million more working women than working men have retired or been excluded from the labor force after the country closed half of its stores a year ago to try to stop the virus from spreading widespread to fight.

So many women have lost their jobs that 57% of women are now either working or looking for work, up from 59.2% just prior to the virus outbreak. The decline doesn’t seem like much, but while a two-income household is a virtual necessity for most families, it’s the lowest percentage of women in the workforce since 1988.

The women workers who lost their jobs were already low-wage workers as the 40 worst-paying jobs in the US, particularly childcare and restaurants, are dominated by women, said panelist Catarina Saraiva. Those female workers are also disproportionately colored workers, noted Boteach: 564,000 blacks and 317,000 Latin Americans.

“Their unemployment rate is double what it was before the pandemic – 3.1%,” she said of working Latinas. “And 41% have been unemployed for six months or more,” she said. Studies show that the longer an employee is unemployed, the more difficult it is for them to find new work.

Some of the jobs returned as the economy slowly recovered, panellists said. But then another crash hit working women in September when schools reopened zoom learning rather than classroom due to the pandemic. Women who had just returned to work had to quit to take care of their children.

That threw childcare workers back from their jobs. “There were 300,000 childcare jobs that were lost. That’s one in six, and half of them haven’t returned, ”Boteach said.

Panellists Boteach, Saraiva from Bloomberg News, and Camille Busette from the Brookings Institution identified another problem: the longstanding denigration of housework, childcare and care for the elderly. Despite the increasing number of counterexamples, it is still predominantly female work, as studies show. As a result, childcare is one of the lowest paying U.S. occupations. This is how elderly care is paid, they said.

The silver lining, according to one of the three, is the rest of society now realizing that it is built on a foundation of dependency on childcare – a point that unions, especially service workers, have made for years. SEIU has organized childcare workers intensively.

The democratic majority in Congress recognized this, the panelists said. $ 39 billion has been allocated to reopening shuttered daycare and other incentives for women to return to these professions, particularly better than before wages and benefits such as paid family leave and medical leave.

But what is really needed, said Busette, is a complete rethinking of the value of childcare professions, especially to increase it both in terms of society’s judgment and in terms of pay.

According to some panelists, dawn may come in some CEO suites as distance learning combined with Jobs shows bosses that their female employees are juggling zoom while trying to manage and raise their kids running around the living room.

“We want to get to a point where low-wage women not only make up the ground they have lost, but also go beyond where they were before,” said Busette. That means paying these workers a living wage. They don’t deserve that now.

This means the expanded childcare tax credit, which is part of Democratic President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Act, is permanent. It means making paid family and sick leave universal. This means making retirement accounts available to part-time workers.

“It also means investing in retraining,” and not just for men in factories who have lost their jobs due to subsidized foreign imports. “And it means investing in childcare and adultcare infrastructure,” said Busette. Saraiva, seeing a preview of Biden’s infrastructure bill, predicted that he would propose these investments. She was right.

That leaves a big problem: the firmly anchored attitude towards women’s work. It is these attitudes, said the moderator of the meeting, that led Republican President Richard Nixon to first propose federal childcare grants – and then turn back and reject them.

Busette wondered how Republicans would react in Congress. They are already rejecting Biden’s infrastructure plan because it would levy taxes on businesses and the rich to pay for it. In Nixon’s day, the GOP wrapped itself up in the “traditional” family of the 1950s, a stereotype that dominated the white suburbs. Denunciations of “socialism” and “government interference” in the family forced Nixon to reverse course in 1970.

“It will be important to move away from the culture wars and ask what families need,” added Busette. “I’m afraid we will develop a narrative similar to that of the ‘welfare mother’.”


Mark Gruenberg

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