In the third year of the pandemic, women, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people, and their families disproportionately continue to face financial strain. Women were more likely than men to have lost their jobs or be pushed out of the labor force due to caregiving responsibilities and a lack of affordable child care, ultimately reducing their incomes. Even prior to the pandemic, women, LGBT people, and disabled people had fewer resources because of systemic and structural racism, sexism, and ableism that pushed them out of labor force and excluded them from safe, accessible, and affordable housing. These decreases in income and resources, alongside the increases in prices of household goods and housing, leave many women, LGBT people, and their families without enough food to eat and unable to afford their housing payments. Rent increases have been particularly severe this last year and are rising faster than wage increases, furthering a deepening gap between income and housing costs. When women and LGBT people are forced to spend most of their income on housing or food, they lack funds for other essentials such as health care. Being unable to afford adequate food or housing creates poor physical and mental health outcomes that can have lifelong impacts and results in greater financial hardship in the future, forcing families into a cyclical pattern where food and housing insecurity produces poor health, which in turn produces greater food and housing insecurity.
Robust and comprehensive investments that address the needs of women of color, disabled women, and LGBT adults are necessary for an equitable and full recovery from the pandemic and to address the increased economic challenges women are likely to face. Women, LGBT people, and their families need accessible and affordable housing, food, child care, income supports, and health care to gain economic security. These investments must not be patchwork protections that are temporary solutions, but instead must address the underlying racist, sexist, and ableist structures of our economy.
Read the whole brief here.